Where Did All the Time Go?

When you see a baby struggling to walk, you marvel at its tiny legs, how fragile they seem. It seems somewhat of a miracle how everyone, including you, used to be just as tiny. Without noticing it, you’ve grown from a tiny baby who puts so much effort in simply walking, to who you are now. You don’t notice any change occurring, but it isn’t as if you’ve turned from a baby into an all-knowing teenager in a matter of days. You’ve grown at such a gradual snail pace that you don’t notice the difference each day, but looking back, you truly realize just how you’ve changed. Your past self seems nothing but a forgotten stranger to you now, holding a vague space in your memory.

As a baby with short, stubby legs and not knowing how to do anything but cry, the world seems full of surprises. Everything is jumbo-sized, and your parents are giants, so large they’re difficult for you to comprehend. Eventually, you learn that these giants are called “daddy” and “mommy”, and as the words spill out of your mouth mommy croons to you how smart you are. Even as you grow each day learning how to crawl, play, demand food, you still feel out of place, for it feels as if everything was made for someone much, much taller than you. Staring up at the sink, you have no choice but to bring a chair over so that you would be able to wash your hands. Even then, the soap is just out of reach of your stretched fingers, so that you would have to call someone over to lift you.

By then you would be in kindergarten, where you couldn’t picture a world without “mommy”. You spend a few minutes inconsolable when she leaves, worried that you’ve been left behind and would never see “mommy” again, but forget about your worries when someone comes asking you to play along. This is the age where a simple game of tag can make you put any worries out of your mind. By now you can see how you’ve changed from a small baby; you experience for the first time what it’s like to be independent, and learn what friends are. The days pass, and you find yourself in first grade; where solving 5+6 proves as impossible a challenge as making pigs fly. Each day teaches you something new, and each day you continue to grow. Second grade…third grade; where battle between the sexes would ensue. Fourth grade, fifth grade, you may have experienced your first puppy love, and the world never looked the same again. You find that the opposite sex is no longer your worst enemy. By now you’re surprised to realize that you’re able to reach the faucet with no chair for quite some time now, and the soap is no longer an unconquerable challenge. For the first time you might have slowed down in your eagerness to mature, and wonder at when it is that you’ve grown so tall.

For what comes next is very much of a bucket of cold water; in sixth grade you realize that you’re really not as all-knowing as you believed you are. Entering the tangle of middle school, for the first time you find the need to hone those adaptation skills. In sixth grade you learn the importance of an A, the harsh disappointment of a failing grade, and that your purpose in life is simply to receive good grades. 7th grade passes, an air of moderate indifference, and 8th grade stands out as something not that long ago.

Pointing out each year, it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific moment where you’ve changed. Growing up is just like eating, each bite of food is insignificant by itself, and it doesn’t seem as if it contributes to aiding you to become full. Bite after bite, year after year, the changes are so small you can’t discern exactly what it is that got you full, and when you’ve grown and matured. From first to second grade, or second grade to third grade, you don’t feel as if you’ve changed, but as a third grader looking back on first grade, you feel older and smarter. It may not seem like much, but just like grains of sand piling up into a hill, then a mountain, each day turns into a month, then a year, and you’re left wondering where all the time went. There is no definite moment where you’ve turned suddenly from a child to an young adult, but know that although hardly noticeable, things change, whether you’re ready for it or not.





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