This I Believe

Caitlin - Leesburg, Virginia
Entered on December 6, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

My mother always said to me one too many times, “When you’re older you’ll understand.” That is the reason I felt the need to grow up so fast. I wanted to be that age when my mom could teach me how to drive; I wanted to be that age when I could sit at the grown up table. I wanted to be the image of a mature young lady. I would do anything to prove that I was growing up. I didn’t take the time to be a kid, because I didn’t want to be, and I regret that now.

Have you ever looked at a child and wondered why they’re always so happy? Children have a special sort of innocence because they are blind to the real world, and they have everyone to depend on. When we realize that we can’t make friends by giving out cookies, or that mommy and daddy can’t always be there for you, this is when we begin to grow up. I wish I could keep that innocence with me forever, but the world has already soiled me. In a child’s eyes, I’m already grown up.

All throughout high school I had upsetting experiences; however, my senior year was the worst. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an illness that affects me to this day. With this wonderful gift, I was left limping to classes, and crying because I couldn’t drive; it hurt to grip the wheel. I tried to put on a brave face around other people; I didn’t want anyone to know I had a “grandma disease.” January 28, 2006 was the worst day of my life. It was on this day that I lost not only an Aunt, but a best friend as well. My Aunt Sylvia had finally given up in her fight against cancer. To this day I still believe that she will walk through my front door and tell me that everything will be alright. I know in my heart that she isn’t coming back, and knowing this is more upsetting to me than the day she died. The icing on the cake was announced just days before my graduation: my parents were getting a divorce. By that point, I was so sick of senior year and all the horrible moments that had occurred that all I focused on was June 15th; the day I graduated, the day I could finally leave my old life behind and look forward to a new one at college.

I missed out on a lot of opportunities in high school because I wanted to grow up. I didn’t realize that everything that I had been going through was slowly making me an adult, changing me into who I am today. I’m still seventeen, and I’m counting down the days until I am officially an adult. However, I’m not on a race track anymore; I refuse to miss any more of life. If there is anything I learned last year, it’s to make the most of the time you have and enjoy being a kid. I’ll give every moment a chance, no matter how good or bad.