Growing up more than age

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By: Claire Pickett <cpickett@hilite.org>

Growing up. Probably one of the hardest things we’ll have to do. Making friends, falling in love, having our hearts broken and finding who we are. So how do you deal with it? How do you learn from it? There are no manuals that can tell us what to do, and no one who can tell us how to do it. The conclusion I have reached is that age is no defining factor of being considered “grown up”. I’m 18, the age that is legally considered an adult, and I know I’m nothing even close to one. When I was younger, I always thought adults were so boring. All they did was talk on the phone, pay bills and watch “Kathy-Lee and Regis”. Where was the fun in that? I would ask my mother if when I grew up, would I still be able to climb trees? She would respond: “I guess, but you won’t want to.”

But now I’m 18, and I still like to climb trees. I still get excited by insignificant things, and yeah, I even jam to Hannah Montana with my best friends in the car. Growing up is what you make it, and part of the growing up process is making mistakes. But the essential part of those mistakes is learning from them. However, now that college is finally in my line of vision, I find myself pausing. Maybe I’ve wanted to grow up too fast. Maybe I haven’t realized that soon enough I’ll be leaving behind some of the most important people in my life; my friends and family. As I look at my peers, growing up seems to be happening faster and faster. Five-year-olds possess cell phones, fifth graders go on diets and seventh graders send nude pictures of themselves to others. But growing up isn’t about doing “grown up” things. It’s about gaining respect as one ages. But how can respect be gained if someone doesn’t respect himself?
I’m not one to preach. I’ve made too many mistakes, and am still too young to know what being an adult really is. But I’ve experienced high school and learned from it, and I have become familiar with the process of becoming an adult. So in the end, if high school has taught me anything, it’s how to grow up, how to fight through hard times and how to find myself. To all those going through it, I can just ask you to hold on. It really is worth it in the end, and every experience is beneficial. Hurt heals while you learn who the real people are in your life. When seniors ask for respect, that is the only reason why: Because we’ve been there, we’ve gone through it and lived through it. We have learned that growing up is facing your fears no matter how much you don’t want to. It’s being man or woman enough to admit your wrong when you thought you were right. But finally, growing up is having the courage to be that one special person who manages to stick out from the rest and do what’s right. Don’t give into the temptation of following the crowd. In the end, it’s not worth it.

Look around at your classmates and decide if that is who you really want to be like. Unless you have the guts to be different, they are just a reflection of yourself. So have fun, be yourself, mess up, laugh about it, then do what you have to do to grow up.

Claire Pickett is on ads staff. Contact her at cpickett@hilite.org

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