Growing Pains

Melissa - Darien, Illinois
Entered on April 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children, family

Youth is wasted on the young. Although heard countless times, I never really understood it to tell the truth. My own understanding was, “Yeah. It’s just some old guy whining about how he wasted his life away. Stop complaining.” After that, it did not mean much to me. But my understanding of the phrase forever changed after a certain edition of my school’s newspaper came out. I was flipping though the articles, looking for anything that could really catch my attention. I started reading the commentaries, and the one that struck me the most was the senior editor’s one. She was talking about how it was her last year and the things she was leaving behind; family, friends, high school and other childhood sentiments. Her last statement was the conclusion of how youth was really wasted on the young.

That really got me thinking; I am currently a junior in high school. Although I can’t wait to go to college and go out to the real world, I’ve also complained about how old I am. My days at home are truly numbered. I currently have two more Christmases at home before I go to college, and I have one more birthday as well. I’ll be a senior next year and going through all the trials and celebrations of being one: college selection, prom, scholarships, graduating, and leaving home. My time as a child is almost up.

I believe that youth isn’t wasted on the young, only taken for granted. When you’re in first grade, you’re not treasuring your mom-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. You’re not numbering your holidays and thinking about how your coloring skills can affect your chances of getting into Harvard. Those are blissful days when all those worries are far behind.

Although I still have plenty of youth in me, I already understand the deeper meaning of this phrase. It makes me want to go buy the biggest Christmas tree and get out the ornaments I’ve used since I was a baby. Although I’m not exactly going to cling to my baby blanket again or try to see if I can still ride my old tricycle, it does make me want to treasure the childhood traditions I still have left; that is the meaning of the phrase. As kids, we didn’t treasure the simple childhood pleasures, but as we get older, we start to miss them and fondly wish for them again.

And as I get older, there will be things from my teenage days that I wish I could go or have again. Unfortunately, I will not realize it till it’s gone. The horrible, ironic, and tragic trick that is youth. However, I will continue to live my life and look fondly at those simple pleasures. I believe that nostalgia is a beautiful thing. And I believe that youth is only wasted when you can’t remember the joys of being carefree and young.