Growing Up

Juliana - Mullica Hill, New Jersey
Entered on November 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

As one matures, the desire to become successful and intellectual is a constant drive in the human mind. The future becomes a utopia that people, including myself, strive to surpass. I constantly consider my composure and how it will affect me in years to come. I work hard in school to get into a good college; I save my money so I have enough to spend later; I schedule my life away so I am organized for the upcoming week. Sometimes, though, people get so wrapped up in life’s commotion that they forget the little things that make every day wonderful. I was lucky enough to meet someone that reminded me to slow down, be happy, and enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer: a four-year-old girl.

I spend my summers vacationing at the shore, but this past summer was nothing but work for me. I worked 33 to 38 hours a week under a stressful job that required a lot of dedication. Because I knew families around town, I offered up my free hours to baby sit as I had done in years past. I expected every day to be filled with some sort of toil, whether it was working in the store or chasing kids around. However, one girl allowed me to find sanctity amongst my crazy schedule. It wasn’t until after two years of playing catch and telling bedtime stories that I realized how grateful I was for the time I spent with her.

The second I walked up her front porch, I could see through the window a mop of blonde curls bouncing down the stairs and flying towards the door. She’d fling it open with all her strength and yell, “Heeeeey, Juliana! Let’s go play. Do you want to go swimming? I think we’re going to the playground later…and oh, the Cheetah Girls Movie is on tonight! Did you see it yet?!”…all in one breath. She was a gleaming ball of happiness and freedom that I learned to admire through her screams and giggles. Bopping from one doll to another, to her piano, to her plastic 3-wheeler, to the fridge, to the front lawn, I had my work cut out for me. Yet she never tired or got frustrated. When I was with her, it seemed like the entire adult world of stress and disarray evaporated and I could enjoy the delights of childhood once again.

As far my “life philosophy” goes, I believe in finding an escape – a portal of happiness to relieve everyday anxiety prevailing in our lives. It could be as simple as playing Disney Princess Monopoly for an hour or riding bikes to get ice cream – either way, seeing the world through the eyes of a child helped me realize that things don’t always have to be so complicated. If I learn to appreciate juvenile rules like “take your time”, “don’t hit”, and “be nice to everyone”, adult life could be treasured for what it’s worth.