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Slipping Through My Fingers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It struck me today that I, like everyone else, am getting older.

I don't fear aging; it's natural, unstoppable, and beautiful. To agonize over the inevitable silver hair and crow's feet is a waste of time. Truly, that is not what troubles me the most.

I fret at how time will slip through my clutching fingers like sand in a sieve, relentlessly disappearing. You may laugh at my petty concerns – at fourteen, I have all the time in the world – and I admit, it is bizarre. Why am I so concerned at the prospect of seemingly infinite time?

But even at my age, I've realized that the circumstances regarding my future have changed. When I was ten, I'd think about it, but for all my contemplation, no one took me seriously. “Don't worry,” adults said, confident smiles on their faces. “you have time to think about it.”

But in the span of four short years, everything has changed. Now that I'm in high school, every poor grade is a wincing slap against my future – a college deterred, a reflection of myself. And I cringe, waiting for the day when someone – a guidance counselor, a teacher, a parent – asks me sincerely, “What are you going to do with your life?”

I'm not stupid. I've given the topic some thought, though casually. But the idea of committing to one profession, one location, and one lifestyle until I die makes me break out in a cold sweat. I still want to be everything – except I know I literally can't.

For all that prattle of my ability to pursue anything, I really can't. I'm too old to be a prodigy, to become an Olympian; heck, I missed out on the opportunity to play volleyball for my school team. And while, no, I don't really like volleyball, care about winning a gold medal, or want to be a prodigy, it's still a kick in the gut when I see kids barely older than me breaking records, and realize that I'll never do that.

All around me, doors are slamming shut, but wasn't I taught that this was the age when they'd all be wide open? Really, this is what I'm afraid of: I fear that one day, maybe 30 years from now, I will look back on this moment, as I currently look at the endless stream behind me, and ask “Why?” Why couldn't I have risked it all and picked another door, another life, instead of keeping my hand so firmly clasped on the one I was holding?

No one I know would understand if I expressed this fear – a slow-burning, yet all-consuming doubt. I don't quite understand it either. But I know enough to grasp that, despite my plans and intentions, I am utterly lost.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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rheameThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 6:34 am:
dont worry. you are not the only  one having the anxiety.there are many around.including me. and i m pretty optimistic , mind you.dont worry because eveything will be fine in the end. if it isn't then its simply not the end!!!!!
 
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HaileySandenThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 8, 2013 at 12:52 am:
This is excellent! I relate competely. The "what are you going to do with your life?" question has always been a trigger for me. Honestly, it feels like I've been in a state of stress since I was 13.   I think what’s at the root of all of this anxiety is an enormous lack of control. A lack of control over our own emotions, our own bodies——sometimes even over our own thoughts and reactions. This lack of control is only supplemented by the strict schedule o... (more »)
 
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laila_265 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm:
You expressed exactly what keeps me up at night, anxiously--"how time will slip through my clutching fingers like sand in a sieve, relentlessly disappearing"--and how we aren't supposed to feel that because we're young, but it doesn't change the fact that we still do feel that way. You're definitely not the only one. Thanks for sharing
 
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