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Forever Young

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“Grow up”. I’ve heard this comment more in the past five months than I ever have in my short life. It’s not even a comment, it’s more like a demand from society, and it’s been hounding me as I’ve picked out graduation announcements and applied to colleges that I’m not sure I even want to attend. It was in the fine print when I opened my own bank account, it was in the stare of the man handing me a class ring order form, it’s the meaning behind every word my teachers say. Now I’m not saying that I want to live with my parents all my life and do nothing to contribute to the world, but I wouldn’t mind if someone said, “take a break, enjoy the last bits of childhood you still have”. Is it wrong of me to want to cling to the carefree nature in which I have spent the last seventeen years of my life? Is it really so terrible that I want to prolong my adolescence while my friends are all counting down the days to being “legal” at long last? What is with the rush anyways?! You get to be an adult for the rest of your life, only seventeen precious years are saved for the innocence of childhood.
I find that as everyone around me gets older, I can’t help but lament at the huge gap that grows when one moves on from being a kid to a “grown up”. Why is that change so profound? Why can’t we continue to wake up full of excitement for the surprises that the new day might hold? Why do we forget the unbeatable optimism that comes with young age? Why is it that we seem to lose our faith in people, and grow bitterer with every step we take closer to, well, dying?
All of these children are rushing through their lives thinking that maybe if they reach a certain age, things will change, will get better. But while you run to the invisible finish line and reach for the trophy that doubles as a key to the “real world”, you lose the wonderful, naïve, pure sense of things that you once had. So, the next time someone says that I’m acting immature or that I’m way too old for something, or to grow up, I will simply smile and keep on meandering through the fantasy land of youth before I come to the crossroads we are all destined to reach.



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