This I Believe

Rachel - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

As a teenager, I am straddling the somewhat inconsistent line between child- and adulthood. I have constantly tried to appear older than I am, in action, dress or otherwise. I have not liked being talked down to by adults, and I have not like being viewed as reckless or irresponsible because I lack experience. I have looked forward to the day when I become fully responsible for myself, and answerable to no one.

In my quest to appear as grown-up as possible, I have essentially exchanged one type of freedom for another. I must be mature and responsible. Rainy days are ideal for studying, not splashing around in the puddles. No longer can I wear polka dots and stripes together with impunity, and nor is it cute for me to open up a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway. Things I enjoyed as a little kid are simply not done by adults– and therefore not done by me anymore.

As the years have passed I have become more comfortable in my role as an adolescent and impending adult. At 17, I am closer to an adult than a child, and I no longer feel the need to unconditionally prove that I am not a kid. My past insecurities are gone, and I can watch Disney cartoons without having to convince myself that I was only doing it because there was nothing else on.

Time is slowly running out. In a few years I will be on my own or even beginning my own family. It will be my turn to put my foot down and say no. There will be no time for blasting the Spice Girls through the house when nobody is home. Just as I grew out of my Barbies and my stuffed animals, I will grow out of these things too. But until that time I will enjoy them. My sister and I will still dress up in my mom’s old clothes and ridiculously high heels and parade around the house. I will keep riding the log flume until my clothes are thoroughly soaked. I will roll down hills and dance in the rain. I will have fun.

Too many adults regret wasting their childhood years wishing they were older, and I don’t wish to be one of them. I believe in embracing my youth while I still have it– because while one can be young at heart forever, one can only be young once.