What are you looking forward to the most about growing up?
I’ve always wanted to be older. When I was around 6, I wanted to be older so I could buy gum. My mum had a chewing gum fiend but no matter how much I begged she wouldn’t always share her JuicyFruit, saying that when I’m older I’ll be able to buy it whenever I wanted. So, from then on, I always wanted to be older. And growing up has been fun... When I was 15, I transitioned from just a student to a Prefect with responsibilities and authority. When I was 16, I could reject my mum’s offer of dinner & take my weekly pay to the local Morley’s and feed myself. When I turned 18, I moved away from home. Set my own ground rules. Went out whenever I wanted and didn’t have to ask for permission from anyone. Now I’m 22 and I am older in every sense. I work, been paying rent for 4 years at uni and, most importantly, I can buy chewing whenever I want. ...but also challenging in the typical ways you’d expect but I wasn’t aware, nor prepared for the growing pains like; How much harder it is to make decisions. Learning about yourself. Dealing with the pressure that you put on yourself & the added extra from others around you. The mistakes you make that feel unforgivable in the moment. Drifting from people you thought would be there forever. Understanding that others are growing and changing in ways that may affect you too. Understanding that change is inevitable and, sometimes, the changes are out of your control. Growing pains. No one told me that it was okay not to have my whole life planned out. Or that mistakes are inevitable so I should live in the moment as much as safely possible & that’s what I won’t regret. No one told me that growing in age also meant that more would be expected of me not just at school but at home, at church and everywhere else. No one reminded me that if it probably wouldn’t matter in a year’s time, it’s probably not worth majorly stressing over. I certainly wasn’t warned about how to handle the loneliness and awkwardness of friendship/relationship breakups (but don’t worry, we’ll let you know in a future blog post😉). Growing up sometimes feels uncomfortable. Especially as a female because our hormones are simultaneously doing the most too! But as you grow through those changes (which are not necessarily going to be negative) remember to live in the moment, take the opportunities to try new things, don’t be afraid to trust your voice and stand up for yourself, forgive yourself for any time you get things wrong and try not to rush the process. There was nothing wrong with me wanting to be old enough to buy chewing gum & there’s nothing wrong with wanting to grow up. There is some cool stuff I couldn’t do back then because of my age, but I certainly can’t come from a long day, fall asleep on the couch and expect to wake up the next day in my bed because no one is carrying me to bed anymore. As you grow with every sunrise and may encounter moments that show you that growing pains, remember that you will come out gold through the fire and you don’t need to or are expected to, struggle alone. Don’t forget to appreciate where you are now. Ruth