The number one topic of conversation the past three days— I’ve counted— has been growing up.
Normally, it tends to slip into conversation.
But lately, it is the conversation.
No wrinkles or gray hairs, but nevertheless, I’m starting to feel it.
The questions have progressed from “Where are you going to school?” to “Where are you going to move after college?” From, “What’s your major?” to “What do you plan on doing with it?” From, “What are you doing for the next four years?” to “What are you going to do with your life?”
As end-of-the-summer crunch time approaches, I’ve seen a lot of friends the past three days, and it’s actually all we’ve talked about.
You think I’m kidding.
“I haven’t seen so-and-so in two years.”
“Oh, she has a baby now.”
“I pay for my own bills now.”
“I don’t even know what I’m doing and I graduate from college… this year.”
Even talks of marriage.
Last week, I had to turn on utilities for the first time ever. Have you ever done that? It’s actually terrifying.
I almost had a heart attack today thinking about the fact that we are halfway through college, when I swear I was just eating ramen noodles in my freshman year residence hall two days ago.
Really, it’s been the topic of conversation the past three years. But lately, it’s different. It’s not fear, or anxiety, like your first day of high school, or college move-in. It’s not excitement, like your first college party or high school graduation. It’s not really a sadness either. It’s just… happening.
Sometimes, I want to tell high schoolers complaining about their work load, or what prom dress they’re going to choose, “Are you kidding me?”
And I know people ages 25 and up reading this want to tell me, “Are you kidding me?”
I’m not saying other phases of growing up aren’t as accurate or real.
But what I’m saying is that they are just different phases of growing up, and they are just as accurate and real.
What I’m saying, is that they are stages.
They are steps.
And this is the step I am on.
This is the stage I am currently in. And this is as real as it gets. To me.
And the stage you are in is just as real and existent and as true as any other stage.
This isn’t the first time we are doing this, growing up.
It’s not like we’re jumping from a five story building, or experiencing culture shock, or quitting our morning coffee routine cold turkey.
We’ve done this before.
And we can do it again.
Here is my lesson. My challenge.
We are growing up, but it doesn’t mean we have to grow down.
A lot of conversations on growing up, mostly between peers, can have a negative connotation. I lost count of how many times I have heard, “I wish things were like high school again” or “I wish I could go back to when-” or
I wish, I wish, I wish.
Hey, I miss those days too.
But we’re moving forward.
Rev Run once said, “Don’t look back unless you plan on going in that direction.”
We don’t have to grow down.
I’m not going to lie, like this sucks.
Sometimes, I just want to scream. I don’t want to ever have to turn on utilities again, and I sure as hell don’t want to start my car payments next month.
There are so many cool things about to happen. Can’t you feel it?
Our lives are growing and embellishing and unfolding in new ways. How exciting is that?
We’ve been talking about all the things we are losing— but think of all the things we are gaining.
After all, growing up does contain the word “growing”.
Grow up, don’t grow down.
Keep finding wonder in the world around you. Keep learning. Keep loving. Keep using your imagination. Keep dreaming.
No matter what stage you are in, what step you are on:
Grow up. Go right ahead.