Some Funny Things About Growing Up

Someone holding up a clock in a hallway
Unsplash / Tristan Gassert

1. When I was younger, I had this weird theory that I was stuck in time. I was convinced the future was an abstract concept no one had yet to prove true, or maybe it was just me who was stuck in a wormhole that kept me from ever growing older. I still remember being in Kindergarten and listening to my teacher talk about what things would be like in first grade and thinking, “That day is never going to come, because I will never not be in Kindergarten.” I couldn’t comprehend a world outside the expanse of the schoolroom’s linoleum floor. Sometimes I’m disappointed it turned out to be false. I think I would’ve liked to stay younger longer.

2. I got my first period before most of my classmates. I remember being so scared when I first saw the blood on my underwear, and then, suddenly, so  irrationally angry. Why did I have to be the one who grew up fast? It felt unfair, as if someone had robbed me of my childhood, but I didn’t realize until years later that even though everyone in my family congratulated me and said I had become a woman, I was still just a kid.

3. My parents have a hard time keeping my birthday straight. They always remember the month, but the day gets mixed up every year. I remember waking up on my 16th birthday and realizing no one else had any idea what day it was. And I wasn’t mad at them, really. I wasn’t even disappointed. It was kind of nice to feel like I was the only one in the world who realized something had changed in me, even if, realistically, nothing had changed at all.

4. It’s weird to me that, at some point in time, you just stop doing certain things. When I was little, I used to be obsessed with playing pretend. My brother and I would dress up as pirates, compete with eye patches and bottles of rum (which were actually just empty bottles of sparkling grape juice my parents let us hoard in the living room). When did we stop doing that? It bothers me that I can’t pinpoint a time. I wonder if, during that last time, I had any idea that we would never do it again. And I wonder if it made me as sad then as it makes me now.

5. I was sitting along the harbor in Copenhagen with my friend when we noticed a group of teens jumping into the water on the other side. They were probably in high school, soaking in the last days of summer, and I remember feeling extremely old in that moment. They reminded me of when I was in high school and my family and I would go down to my aunt’s lake house and spend the last warm days of the year dancing on the docks. I used to be so happy swaying in the sun, breathing in the smell of water and tanning oil and that weird, indescribable scent that lets you know that fall is coming soon and you’ll have to wait another whole year to feel that way again. But then, with no forewarning, we stopped going to the lake house and I started to forget all those smells and those sounds and those feelings until I looked across the water in a country thousands of miles away from home and saw it on the faces of strangers I knew I’d never see again.

6. It gets me that at one point, you were the only person I wanted to tell anything. Now we don’t talk at all. How can someone mean the world to you one minute and then nothing at all the next? It bothers me that time has that effect. I want to say we grew apart, but maybe we just grew up.

7. I have a weird theory that I’m stuck in a time warp. Everything just moves so quickly now. One day it’s Monday and the next it’s Saturday and though it’s kind of nice, it’s also scary. Maybe it’s because, as we grow older, every minute becomes a smaller fraction of our lives, or maybe it’s just because we grow so busy that we don’t notice time flying by, but sometimes I worry the world is rushing past me and before I even realize what’s happening, it’ll all be gone. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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