Kids wanting to be grown-ups, teenagers yearning for their innocent youth, middle-aged people looking for their fountain of youth, senior citizens reminiscing about their younger years: at some point most everyone will find themselves wishing they were in a different part of their life. I certainly have been guilty of this; I spent the majority of sixth grade wishing I was in 5th grade, back in elementary school when life was simpler.
In fifth grade I was on top of the world, I was a “cool girl” at Hunnewell, my elementary school, and I didn’t have a care in the world. I had a close-knit, fiercely loyal group of friends and it seemed like it would never end. Then it did. Middle school was like finding out that Santa wasn’t real, fantasy was over and reality was strengthening its vice-like grip on my life. I was no longer a “cool girl”. My close-knit group of friends was unraveling and I wandered around looking for a place to fit in. My friends and I only talked of Hunnewell and we were filled with regret because, as the old saying goes, “you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” I desperately wanted to fit in at my middle school and had lost all my previous confidence. Then seventh grade came, and things changed. I decided to stop thinking and talking of Hunnewell and accepted middle school as the reality. I made great friends and regained the confidence I had lost the previous year. Looking back, I realize that I missed out on sixth grade because I spent all my time wishing I was in Elementary school. I’m proof that if you spend your time thinking about another stage of life, you’ll miss enjoying the part of life you’re in right now.
This reminds me of my sister. Kathryn doesn’t like growing up. She’s seventeen now but she doesn’t like to fixate on that. On her birthday she groans at the thought of being older, of growing up. She is one of those rare people who didn’t spend her childhood wanting to be older. She just loved being a kid. She was a free spirit; she loved playing and being carefree. I know she misses those days where she would go out barefoot and play all day with the neighbors. How different her world is now. Being a junior her life is suddenly crowded with essays and tests and preparation for the future. Because of this I sometimes worry that she will miss out on being seventeen, like I missed out on sixth grade. I am sure though, that she will learn the lesson I did and learn to celebrate every stage in life. To appreciate life we must focus on the joys of today. My hope is that people learn to stop yearning for the past and live their lives loving the present and excitedly awaiting the future.
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