One day woke up and realized that I actually had to grow up. I guess this happens to all of us at one point or another. I used to be terrified of growing up…maybe because I thought it would completely change everything and everyone I loved. In fact, I was so terrified of it that I literally kept my window open at night and prayed that Peter Pan would come and take me to Neverland with him. (There were a lot of cold nights, let me tell you).
I had a wonderful childhood. I loved it more than words can say and I think that’s why I wanted to stay young forever. I wanted to freeze time and keep everyone exactly as they were. In my head, I envision the past as a red balloon – one that I’ve been clutching on to it too tightly – so scared and unwilling to let go of. Now I know that I have to let it go so that my hands will be free to hold on to new things that come along.
The idea of growing up still scares me but not as much as it used to. Mostly now I’m just scared about not becoming the person I want to be, or not having a chance to do everything I want to do, or forgetting that happy girl with the freckles and crooked smile who I used to be.
To me, growing up does not mean growing old. I think a lot of people assume they are one and the same. Growing up simply means having the confidence to be who you want to be and live the life you want to live. A lot of people become cynical as they grow older…and I promised myself I would never let that happen to me. I hope it never happens to you either. I hope your eyes stay wide with wonder for the world, your heart stays eager and bright, and that you never lose your curiosity or sense of adventure.
I’ve always kept a journal to document how the experiences I’ve had growing up made me feel – scared, happy, sad, confused, angry, lonely, inspired- thinking that one day I’d be able to share it with my children and help them (in case I ever forgot what “growing up” felt like). Then I realized that if I feel this way, and if maybe my kids will one day feel this way, then maybe there are other people in the world feeling this way too. So I decided to share my journal entries with you – I hope they will show you that you are not alone. And I hope they make you feel a little less confused about life. But if not, at least we can be confused together.