The one thing that pops into my head whenever I hear the words “growing up” is: I don’t want to. Now, I know that may sound unhealthy (and maybe it is), but I don’t mean that I want to stay a child forever and never have new experiences or change in any way. What I mean is I don’t want to lose that part of myself that looks at the world with curiosity and wonder, that is unafraid to be goofy, that runs as far from cynicism as humanly possible. The older I get, the more I find myself surrounded by people who have become so jaded that having fun and being playful are looked at as qualities of the ridiculous. And at times, I have let this get to me and I start to feel inferior, as if I am somehow less of an adult because of the way I view the world. I have responsibilities, bills to pay, obligations to uphold like every other person, and I take them seriously, but I refuse to sacrifice my inner child just to be considered an adult. If I’ve begun to learn one thing over the years, it is that the purpose of living is to relish being alive. And no one does that better than a child.
This last year since I graduated from college has been pretty trying to say the least. I’ve been doing a lot of what I guess could be called soul-searching and don’t feel any more enlightened now than I did a year ago. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve dealt with a few hardships in the past year that I had been dreading for a while and I think I’m stronger for it. I’ve said goodbye to parts of my life that I loved (and some I didn’t love so much) and am now trying to figure out what to do next or who I am now. But I don’t really like that phrase. People say it a lot, that they are “figuring out who they are” but I think that’s not entirely accurate. I know who I am now, even the qualities that I don’t like to admit to, I still know they’re there. But what I think we all mean when we use the phrase is that we’re trying to figure out who we want to become and how to get there. For me, I want to become someone who is content to be on a journey rather than always looking for a destination. I’ve always been someone who likes to finish things and check them off some mental checklist, but I’ve never figured out how to just be. I want to learn to live in the now rather than continuously worrying about the future. It will take patience, something I don’t have a lot of, but I intend to work on it.