Today, I realized I’m growing up


Rebekah McDowell

Me and two of my friends since childhood at Abbie’s (middle) graduation party.

I’m not ready to grow up.

Growing up is like climbing through a window, but it gets closed behind you, leaving no way back inside. You get to see what made you into the person you are, but you can’t go back to it.

Planning for college has hit, and I would do anything to go back to the time where the most important thing to me was how long until I got my driver’s license. I’ve had my license for nearly four months, but that means I’m growing up.

When I was younger, my dad made jokes about putting bricks on my head so I couldn’t grow taller, or skipping my birthday so I couldn’t grow older. I would laugh and roll my eyes, telling him that was dumb and that I was excited to get older. Now, I wish I had skipped my birthdays. I wish I hadn’t grown older because I miss being free.

I’m not scared of college; in fact, I have been excited to go for years. I am afraid of what growing up means. I’m scared of not being free anymore. As I grow up, I get more and more freedoms. I can drive now, I have a job, I am trusted to do things that I couldn’t have done before; I also slowly lose the freedom that is being young.

I could spend all of my days playing and running down the street. I did, too. I refused to let anyone hold me down, and no one really tried. I was just a kid, so there was no reason to. There was no pressure on me to be something I wasn’t.

I have been waiting for college since I started high school. The summer before my freshman year, I started looking for colleges. I have had my dream college picked out for years—although it changed once or twice. I never thought the official planning for all of it would make me realize how scary growing up really is.

In a little over a year, I will be done with high school and preparing to go to college. In a little over a year and a half, I will be off living on my own. I won’t have my parents to help me when I get stuck. They won’t be asking me if I did my Membean every day. They won’t be keeping a close eye on my grades, asking about any missing assignments. That will be my job.

When I have a problem with a friend, my parents won’t be upstairs to help me get through it. I will have to deal with it on my own. I’m not ready for that. I’m not ready to be on my own. I don’t even know how to cook, yet I’m expected to be able to live on my own.

Every time I think about my future, I become teary-eyed. Why do I have to grow up? Why can’t I stay 16 forever? I don’t want to stay in high school, but I’m not ready to go to college either.

I’m getting sick of petty high school arguments and trying to escape the jail that is our parking lot. High school was cool when it started, but I’m over it now. I’m ready for the next step, except every time I think I am, I realize that I’m not.

I would like to stay in the bubble that is my present, never worrying about what the future holds for me.”

I’m not ready for the intense practice sessions that college music programs hold. I’m not even remotely prepared to have to provide for myself. I can barely make it to school on time even with my parents making sure I’m awake. How am I supposed to make it to lectures on time on my own? I don’t even know how to get to my best friend’s house, and I’ve been taking the same route for years. How am I supposed to find classes on a campus I don’t even know?

I’m sure that my anxiety plays a large role in my fear for the future, but I’m still not ready for it. I’m not ready to grow up. I’m not ready to learn the lessons that my parents can’t teach me. I’m not ready to jump into a world where I am basically alone in living it.

Growing up, my mom has told me that there is an order to how they parent: when we are kids, they are our teachers. Once we hit high school, they’re our coaches. We’re thrown into the game, and they will help us as best as they can, but it’s on us now. Does this mean college is like when the coach is out of town, but you can call them and ask for help? Am I going to be stuck running this alone, unless it is vital I receive advice?

I’m growing up a lot faster than I expected, and I’m not ready for it. Growing up is scary, and I am a very jumpy person. I don’t know what my future holds; all I know is that I’m not ready to find out.

I would like to stay in the bubble that is my present, never worrying about what the future holds for me.