This I Believe

Ashley - Reidsville, North Carolina
Entered on April 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Moody, rebellious and irritable are words thought of as synonymous with another one—teenager. A wish to hurry and grow up, or to cling to the irresponsibility of childhood, seems to pervade the teenage population. At seventeen, I’m a member of this confused group of humanity, and I believe in what it means to be a teenager.

As a teenager, I’m caught in between childhood and adulthood—and I’m fine with that. The child part of me still loves to run in the rain, to laugh until I cry, and to watch butterflies. Being part child lets me believe in things that seem naïve to adults. I can believe that there’s justice in the world, and I can dream of doing extraordinary things and imagine things more clearly than many adults. Younger children and I communicate better because I haven’t lost the child in myself.

While keeping hold of the child in me, I’ve also discovered a part of me that’s growing into adulthood. For example, I can finally sit still for more than five minutes. Also, I can finally understand the logic behind some of my mother’s decisions; I now see rules that were merely annoying as tools to keep me safe. As I mature, I also realize that the justice my childish side believes in so strongly can only be preserved if people fight for it. However, though I’m willing to fight, I’ve also finally learned to pick my battles and to sometimes use subtlety instead of force or argument. As a child I didn’t understand any of these things, but now that I’m a teenager I’m starting to learn them.

Being a teenager isn’t always as easy as some adults seem to think. We’re trying to figure out who we are, and people sometimes treat us as children while expecting us to act as adults. However, I wouldn’t trade these years for anything. Holding inside me this strange mixture of child and adult makes my life brighter and more interesting everyday. I hope I’m still a teenager when I’m sixty, because I believe in the true meaning of the word teenager; not rebellious and moody (though we can be), but intelligent, sincere, confused, and wonderful.