Note to self: Never grow up

3050452Yep, that’s me; adorable, smooth-rolling two-year-old me. I guess I was a pretty cool kid, at least that’s what they tell me. You have to rely on your friends and family to really know what you were like back in the day where you could barely walk or talk. Life was about perspective. If the grown-ups said something was bad, it was bad. If they said you were cute, you were cute. Of course, the validity of that statement depended on whether the adult was being honest or just didn’t want to have to deal with an outburst of waterworks. 

When I was young, I depended on my parents to make my decisions. I couldn’t know what was right or wrong, I wasn’t big and smart yet. However, I knew one thing: I wanted to be. I wanted to be as tall as my dad, as smart as my mom. I wanted to be able to go where I wanted, when I wanted. I was determined to be a grown-up, my Barney firmly pulled along for the ride. 

I look back at mini me, and I can’t help but wish to be able to tell myself just one thing: slow down. Being a grown-up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; mom and dad were just playing a role, putting on a façade to make it through the day. Being a grown-up requires responsibility, matureness, and a lot of hard work. Being a grown-up requires part of your soul to die. 

I miss the days where I could waddle around to my little heart’s delight, not having a worry or care in the world. I’d eat when mom fed me, sleep when mom told me, and play until mom took me in. As I approach the end of my senior year, college looming in the near future like an ominous storm waiting to be unleashed, I know that my days of childhood are coming to an end and the time is nearing when I’ll have to be a mature, responsible adult.

Having approached the end of high school, I feel I’ve finally accepted the ultimate demise of my childhood. I’ve made adulthood out to be a horror, a nightmarish creature that preys on little boys and girls, dragging them out of their cribs in the middle of the night and forcing them to take desk jobs. In reality, being a grown-up isn’t completely bad. There’s the upside of independence that makes it worthwhile. Adults wield the power. They can go out with their friends whenever they choose. They can eat what they want when they want. The glorious privileges of adulthood would seem like heaven to a little child, but still I dream I could have a conversation with my younger self. If I could go back in time, I’d write myself a note, warning of the dangers and tricks of adulthood. It’d read:

“Amber Lee, I know the world seems big and scary. I know you want to be big, too. You want to be grown-up like mommy and daddy, and you want to take that second cookie from the cookie jar without them telling you to wait for dinner. It may not seem fair that daddy can go wherever he wants while you’re stuck in the stroller. But trust me, I’ve had a taste of being a grown-up, and I’ve found some shocking secrets. It’s not acceptable to play with Barney. In fact, that trend ends well before middle school, so you better get playing. Imaginary tea parties are so unimaginable that even an imaginary detective couldn’t find them with an imaginary microscope. Also, please stop complaining about naps, they’re the bee’s knees, and virtually inexistent in the future. Childhood goes fast, and adulthood is inevitable. Enjoy it.”

I’d hope she’d read it and go slow, enjoying childhood while it lasts. Well, someone might have to read it for her. She’s only a kid, after all.


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