When we were young, we wanted nothing more than to be a ‘big kid.’ We wanted all of the perks that came along with growing up, like being able to do whatever we pleased, not being told what to do, reaching that long-awaited age when we could finally taste alcohol freely, etc. We wanted to grow up faster because we had our eyes on the prize. Little did we know, along with growing up came responsibility — a sh*t ton of it — that we would rather not be burdened with, emotional turmoil from the turnover of relationships, loss that we finally understand, jobs that we hate, etc.
As young-minded, naïve youths, we barely experienced an ounce of negativity more significant than Mama getting angry, or our older siblings excluding us from their exclusive ‘Ace of Base Club’ (this was a devastating reality for me).
Now that we’re finally in the ‘grown up’ stage — some of us are still growing up, actually, and that’s okay — we desire the freedom that childhood graced us with. We wish we didn’t wish away those youthful days back then, and we wish we could experience it all over again, not having realized how truly valuable and treasured that time was.
If you’re at least 18 years of age, you might be considered an adult in the world. When you reach about 21 or 22 years of age, you might take a couple more steps into adulthood by taking on more significant responsibility, reluctantly releasing the coveted flexibility of your college years and jumping into the longest ongoing chapter of your life: a career.
This is me. I am 22-years-young, diving head first into my first ‘real’ job at the explicitly exciting Elite Daily, trying to let go of my daydreaming tendencies that take me back to my sweet little apartment spot with the blunt in my hand, music bumping and my shirtless hunny snuggled next to me. The thirst for those days is enough to make a girl drip drool, but I won’t go that far because, baby, I’m leading a new stage of life — rather, a new life all together, as I like to think of it.
Reality hits like a ton of bricks. We all know this. We have all experienced the truth to this at some point in our lives, whether it hurts, or it hits like a bullet in the back that finally knocks some sense into us. We find that life goes on, no matter what. Whether we hit rock bottom, or we’re walking on Cloud 9 for what seems like too much of a good thing; the world keeps moving, time continues to pass and we continue to age.
To age — what an ugly phrase that is. Although, it is quite painfully the reality and definition of life. We are born; we grow up; we grow old. Do we prefer grow old, or age? Honestly, they both share the same meaning and horribly dreaded connotation. We fear death, at least most of us do. We go through life and we lose people close to us, people connected to us in some close or distant way, people who just don’t have enough strength to conquer the battles of illnesses, people who die tragically, and those who die far too young. It scares the sh*t out of us to experience the earth-shattering reality of life and death.
How you choose to handle that fear, however, might be the sole factor in determining how you live your life. When you find yourself growing old, will you be able to look back on all of the beautiful things you witnessed and experienced and truly believe that you lived a full life? Or will you look back and unwillingly feel the sting of regret for not living life to the fullest?
As a whole, the human population is vulnerable to the concept of age. We surrender to growing old. We fall weak to its implications, and we forget the true meaning of life: to embrace it; to live to your greatest potential. Why is it that when people reach that certain mark shortly after what may be considered ‘middle-age,’ they throw their hands up? Up goes the white flag. Suddenly, a person becomes ‘too old’ for this, or that.
We could look at this on the opposite end of the spectrum, as well. While you’re growing up, the last thing you want to hear is that you’re ‘too young’ to do this, or that — for realistic things that is. I remember my mother holding me back from going to Europe on a school-sponsored trip after high school graduation, while 95 percent of my friends frolicked through the streets of France. In college, I was restricted from a second chance to travel to Europe for a semester abroad.
Not to say that I don’t lead a privileged life supported by my parents, this is I know. However, I will forever remember these two instances as two great opportunities lost. Sure, growing up, I would have taken advantage of these trips to do a little partying and have my fun — that’s simply one of the joys of every young person’s life. But more importantly, I missed out on a new lease on life. The door was open to an abundance of captivating cultures to be explored, languages and histories to be learned and new relationships to be formed. (It still burns.)
The lesson here is plain and simple. You are never ‘too old’ or ‘too young’ to take life for all that it’s worth. The cardinal rule of life is to live it right. No more of this giving up and giving in. Age is just a number. Each of us has the world in our hands. If you have desires, fulfill them. If you’re unhappy with your place in life, whether it be a job, location or relationship, make the change. There is so excuse to settle for mediocrity. We allow ourselves to become clothed with comfort, and we fear coming out from under the covers to feel the cold air. Change should be embraced.
It is one of the greatest beauties in life. Change often presents us with what is unfamiliar, foreign or unexplored. It is exciting! It’s a rush! It gets your blood pumping and reminds you that you are, in fact, human and still kicking! What are you waiting for? There is so much the world has to offer you. Go out and get it — old heads and young bloods, alike.