I’m getting old. Wow, 16? Where have the years gone? The transition from trick or treating and getting tired at 11 PM to never sleeping before midnight and having my backpack weigh 70 pounds has been shaky, to say the least. My innocence slipped out the door in seventh grade when I asked my friends what a virgin was. I remember the first time I actually listened to a radio station besides NPR – 6th grade. I remember the first time I tried to put on mascara – I got an eye infection. In elementary school, my mom literally had to put on my clothes for me as a sleepy-eyed 8 year old Catherine complained of drowsiness from only 9 hours of sleep. I remember all my teachers since pre-school, and I remember the first book that was ever read to me – the Boxcar Children.
Now, I’m in high school. The days literally go buy 20 times faster than they used to. I can put on makeup without a mirror, I can survive with 4 hours of sleep. I can accept the fact that I can’t fit into my 7th grade jeans and that I can never be the kid at summer camp again, only the counselor (except for maybe next summer). No longer is my bookshelf filled with the “A to Z Mysteries” series and Mrs. Pigglewiggle books, but rather, SAT workbooks and old textbooks. The most exciting reads I have time to read include Jane Eyre (which is actually somewhat interesting) and my AP Euro book (which I like to read sometimes, because knowing the background and development of current day events is beneficial).
I’m never going to be that young ever again. From now on, I’m only going to have to shoulder more responsibilities. One day, I might be responsible for someone else’s life besides my own. I’m going to have to read the news and understand what the 2016 presidential candidates advocate to fulfill my role as an informed voter. There are so many laws and policies that I’m unaware of, and if I make a mistake, I don’t have the excuse of not being aware of consequences anymore.
I don’t like getting old, because I think life will only get harder as I continue aging. But I also want to get older because while I will have more burdens, I’ll also have more opportunities. With each birthday, I get more privileges that I envied as a child. I can drive! I can watch PG-13 movies! I can eat sample at Costco without my mom’s approval! Soon, I’ll be able to vote, drink, smoke, get into R-rated movies, and I’ll be eligible to get a job, and make my own money. Soon, I will be able to order products from infomercials without my dad telling me it’s a stupid investment, because I know it will be. I’ll just be swayed by the infomercial.
I’ll mature. I’ll find out more about the world as I travel to more places. I’ll meet better people that tell me wiser things and help me make more educated decisions. My friends will encourage me to do what I love. Perhaps someday, I will have the chance to be the teacher instead of the student, even though I’m learning something new every day. Maybe I’ll become a role model instead of the one admiring my hero. And maybe, I’ll finally find out WHAT I’m meant to do, who I’m meant to be.
But for now, I’m still relatively young. I’m older, but that’s not such a tragedy anymore.