The end of another year means thousands of nervous 18 year olds are leaping off into a new world known as ‘’adulthood’’. A time where people replace school bags with handbags, Monopoly money with credit cards, and switch off Disney Channel and pretend to know what on earth is going on in Boston Legal.
Does our life start out covered in rainbow colours, only for time to strip away at them one by one until we are left as pale, weak and colourless as our white hair has become?
There must be something wrong with the way adulthood is lived and viewed if so many people are terrified of becoming one. I don’t want to grow up, I don’t want to replace my colourful shoes and Harry Potter tees with smart black clothes for job interviews, I don’t want to close off my heart for fear of getting hurt, I don’t want to be told I am too old to do cartwheels through green fields or order chocolate milkshakes instead of vodka, and I don’t want to lose the free-spiritedness that most people lost the second they were pressured by society to be the same, and grow up.
I feel like I’ve been thrown into a carriage pulled by galloping horses who are speeding me through life, and dragging me to predetermined stops of school, university, jobs, and not letting me get off in between to catch my breath. The whiplash from this has caused so many people to fear the future, rather than being excited for adulthood and all the experiences it will bring.
It’s comforting in some ways to know that many adults claim that they still have no clue how to be an ‘adult’. The way I see adulthood is that the microwave has warmed us our whole lives, and we get to a stage where on the outside of the pie, we are steaming and look completely ready, but inside, we are still cold and have no clue what we are doing.
I was reading Tuck Everlasting, and it follows a family who accidentally drank from a stream that gave them eternal life, and one boy was stuck seventeen forever (albeit not being sparkly like a certain other immortal seventeen year old we know). So many people would want to stay young forever, myself included, and avoid change. But as growing older is inevitable, I’m hoping that one day I will see that the ups, downs and inside outs of life are what makes life fleeting, and beautiful.
To humbly quote myself, ‘’Maybe we need to fall from the clouds to force us to spread our wings.”
In our apparently naïve teenage heads that are convinced we can change the world, we are constantly torn between people telling us we can do anything we want, but then also limiting us at every turn.
It’s up to our generation to redefine the connotation of the world ‘’adult’’ and give it a new meaning, where what we do WE feel is right rather than what society pressures us into believing, and keep the trusting, optimistic, happy children inside of us.
An antelope has to deal with being chased by predators its whole life, and growing up doesn’t make the lions go away. Growing up just means that the baby antelope grows strong enough legs to beat them.
“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”- Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting