Optional: Growing Up

Optional: Growing Up

In response to Daily Prompts: All Grown Up

“Growing old is inevitable, but growing up is optional.”

It’s quite intriguing how time seems to be invisible at the present, and yet when we look at the past, we see that so many things have already slipped out of our grasp. One time we were just children with no care in the world and the next thing we know, we already are juggling independence and responsibility.

I grew up as an only child for 15 years. I never had the reason to think that I should grow up. Who cares? I’m the first child in every family I’m in: from my parents, to my grandparents on both sides, so I tend to be showered with much attention and it was quite to say that there was a time when I could admit that I was spoiled as I could be. (Favorite. I was – ehem -their favorite. Was)

I ran. I played. I cried. I relished being a child. Being one that I was back then, I often wondered what the real meaning of “growing up” and “maturity” is. To my seven year old mind, growing up means having babies, or growing up means having money, or growing up means having the right to scold children. When I was ten, it took on a deeper meaning: Growing up means having responsibilities. Growing up means being independent. Growing up means having people look to you. At my fifteen years, it was summed up in one word: scary.

Time passed and I found myself not having any of the qualities I thought a grown up should have. I’m single (and happy) and thus don’t have the right to scold children, I don’t earn money – yet, I don’t have that much of what one could consider as responsibilities and independence and I’m quite sure that I’ve not yet reached that peak of my life where I’d have people depending and looking to me – for what, I don’t care.

But, one sentence shook that mindset from me and I felt I was drowning in a pool of ice-cold water.

“You’ll be handling the money and helping the marshals in the event.”

There was this one gathering just this December 18-19, 2014 where our youths gather in an international event. Being an large-scale event as it was, it wasn’t to be taken lightly especially with regards to the time, the transportation, the delegates and of course, the budget to be used for the duration of the two days.

When my youth leader announced that in our meeting, my first reaction was…what? (Not that I’d say that out loud of course). I’m a regular delegate of these events and as such, I’m already familiar with the tricks of the trade as a delegate. But never in a million years did I expect to be one the people to handle the trade (and the money. We know handling money can be quite distressing.) Not wanting to disappoint, I did what I needed to do. I grew up asking questions, being the one handled and lead, but at that time, all I could remember was that big concern about how I could help take note of every head, keep everything in tow and hand out the budget without incurring liabilities. A couple of years back, I would have turned indifferent on the way our leaders would shout out house rules, smile at their panic with regards to budget and say sorry if we ever get scolded for straying beyond their line of sight. But because it was because back then, I never would have thought that I would be one of the people to recite the house rules.

This was one the biggest responsibilities shouldered to me – and the first one to wake me up from the stupor of childishness. And it was during this event that I realized, I’m not that child anymore. Cliché? Yes. But, being the dependent and scaredy cat and once spoiled as I am, believe me, this became a big deal for me.

By God’s grace, everything went as planned. Everyone enjoyed the experience, the newly-found friends, and, I sure do hope, the lessons our leaders had taught us. On the bus ride home, I was content to sit back and reflect on all the things that had happened before finding myself asleep on my friend’s shoulder.

Funny how things could go fast forward when we look back.

The future still scares me like how it did back when I was younger. But time passes by and nobody could stop it. Since I went to college, I needed to learn how to handle my money. Since I had a sister, I had to learn the role of being an older sister (we’re 15 years apart – that gives me 15 years of childishness to wear off. I’m still learning and I still have a long way to go). I had to learn independence, otherwise I won’t be able to condition myself to keep on pursuing my course. Being in the last years of my college life, I had to accept responsibilities – in home, school and church. And I had to learn how to handle people, and how to be a friend even I myself don’t really know how to be a perfect one.

I suppose I could say that I’m still not that ready to grow up. But who cares?

Life does not wait for you to be ready.

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