I'm Only 15

January 13, 2008
By Meredith Burger, Chapel Hill, NC

I’m only 15.

My whole life stretches out in front of me. Endless possibilities waiting to be explored. Opportunities waiting to be taken. Moments waiting to seized.

Lately though, it’s kind of been feeling… like life is a black whole. As you progressive farther and farther in, all hope and happiness and fun is sucked out of you.

As you get older, there’s more and more work to be done.

Remember when you were little, and the only homework you had was to do one of those crossword puzzle riddles. And recess! Remember recess? And not worrying about what you said, or whether that shirt makes your nose look big, or why he didn’t talk to you during class.

When boys and girls got married on the playground, and no one cared how many boys she had married before him. When you liked a boy, you just chased him on the playground. And as long as two kids were the same age, it was friendship.

Back when your parents packed your lunch for you, and ice cream was something you couldn’t get enough of.

Back when the fifth graders obviously knew everything.

Back when nothing mattered more than making sure you didn’t get cooties.

Back when knowing what 1 plus -1 equaled was still REALLY impressive.

Back when getting the training wheels off your bikemade you the coolest person ever.

But now…

No one has training wheels.

Everyone knows what 1 plus -1 equals.

No one has cooties.

Fifth graders are the ones you babysit.

You fend for yourself, food wise.

And if someone gets married now, at my age, they’re pregnant, and expelled from school. If someone likes another person now, they have to use carefully selected words, motions, and facial expressions to convey this, and hope to God he likes you back.

Now… my homework fills the entire box in my calender with papers, projects and tests.

Stress isn’t a “grown-up thing”. It’s a daily struggle to live up to everyone else’s expectations. And if you get a bad grade on a test, you better hope you still can get into college.

Yes, college. The one thing we strive for. When every test we take, every grade we get is being judged by an anonymous group of people, who will ultimately decide our future, nothing is good enough.

And if life just keeps getting worse and worse as you go along, why not follow the rule for situations like that…

Why not quit while you’re ahead?

Why not end it all while you can still remember life as it should be, not after the joys of life have sucked every ounce of hope from your soul?

But no. Of course not, no.

Because then we might miss out on all the wonderful things life has in store
for us.

The endless possibilities waiting to be unoticed or unheeded. The opportunities waiting to be passed by and ignored. The moments waiting to be wasted living life as it should be… servicing a standard set down by people just as unhappy as their work made them.

Why risk missing all of that?

After all…

I’m only 15.

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