This I Believe

Danielle - Las Cruces, New Mexico
Entered on December 8, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: pleasure

It’s Never Too Late to Stay Young

I’m aging too quickly. If I keep going at this rate, I’m likely to look 60 by the time I’m 40. Therefore, I’ve made it a priority to act like a kid every once in a while. Yes, I believe its okay to act immature when you’re 20, to make funny faces with a friend and laugh uncontrollably while trying not to spit out your drink, to watch favorite Christmas classics you watched when you were five and to color in a coloring book like it’s the cool thing to do.

Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do? Most reasonable people would answer, “maybe when you’re 10, but not when you’re 20.” They assume a college student stresses over academics, yet still finds time to party with friends and make mistakes that turn into memorable stories later.

I still find time to have fun like the typical college student. But now, as a senior undergraduate, it seems that my incessant worries such as when my next paper is due and finding the answers to the final exam get in the way of my social life. I worry about what the future is going to be like. Will I go to graduate school or will I simply try to find a job within my field? Where will I work? What if I don’t get hired right away?

I am growing up. I no longer want to stay out until 3 a.m. with friends and head back to the dormitories without a care in the world. I would rather go to bed around 10 p.m. to be prepared for my job starting at 8 a.m.

My boyfriend stopped me the other day and asked, “Why are you so stressed? I can see the worries all over your face. Why don’t you smile anymore?”

Startled, I didn’t have an answer. When I started to think about it, it makes sense to me. I want to live in the moment rather than mapping every detail of the future. More importantly, I realize I cannot control my age or the passing of time, but I can control the person I want to be or how young I would like to feel.

I still go to work every day, try my best at school and think about plans after college. But any time in between these, I act like a 10 year-old. I sleep late on Saturdays, watch cartoons, buy sparkly, multi-colored toothpaste, blow bubbles in the wind and take plenty of naps. These might seem like small things, but in the end they are a reminder of youth—something we all should never give up.