Sunday, May 6, 2012

Growing up too fast

     After working with kids who are in elementary and middle school for as long as I have, you learn a lot about their interpretation of different things. One in particular that always strikes me is the interpretation of being an adult. They see it as an amazing and fun time where they have complete and utter freedom. They can do anything they want, spend money on what they want, and not be told what to do.

     I laugh, because me and my friends thought the same way. There was nothing more we wanted than to be older and not be looked down on. That was and is still an issue, adults treating kids only like kids. Sometimes, it seems easier and increasingly helpful to both parties, to treat kids like they are a bit more grown up. They don't want to focus on the big disconnect there is between your age and theirs. If they feel more on your level, they will most likely be willing to cooperate.

     The truth is, while I didn't believe it when I was young, is that you never want to grow up too fast. Being an adult, even a young adult, has been stressful. We all go through different events in our lives that may change the description of what being an adult is like. However, it doesn't mean we can't all feel similar things. Sure, when you're older you get to drive a car. But you also have to start thinking about how to pay for that car, the insurance, accidents, and paying for gas. There is nothing more earth-shattering than you're first car accident, but you don't want to say that to a new driver and scare them half to death.

     Another thing kids cannot seem to wait for is the romance that will supposedly find them. Let me tell you, I believe that the best is yet to come for me and I'm 22. That doesn't mean I haven't been in love, but when you are young things are so distorted. You truly believe that every guy you date needs to be a gentleman, or say sweet nothings in your ear. Or hold your hand 24/7. Those things are nice but trying to change someone into that will never work. Those gestures are always more special when not done constantly.
      I have seen girls act the most immature they ever have, simply over a boyfriend. It is scary. But these kids don't realize the heartbreak they will have to go through first, and they'll think they are the only ones. There isn't anything we can do to protect them. Just be there and support them. They will fall in love with love, and only time will change that.

     I know that children do not understand how difficult it can be in college or how hard it is to get a job, but it won't get any easier. At least the way our education system and economy are going. I don't even really have major bills to pay, and I still never have enough money. I am trying to graduate in December and I need to pile on 4 Summer classes and 5 class in the Fall, in order to do so. Plus, then comes the intense worry about paying off the loans I had to take out to pay for my entire education. No one will hire a college grad with no experience, but no one will give us a chance to get that experience and that is where we are stuck. Taking unpaid internships that are full time and trying to work a petty part-time job just so we can commute to our internships. It is one of the most frustrating things about being my age right now.

     Yes, at 22 I can go drive around, hang out with whoever, drink, buy scratch offs and more. But none of that really makes me happy. I'd rather stay in and watch a movie with my boyfriend, then trek out to a club and get drunk and lose my hearing and my voice because the music is so loud. I like driving but not enough to do it just for the heck of it, it is expensive to pay for gas. There is more freedom with growing up but the responsibilities pile up right with it. Believe it or not, I also believe our moral compasses kick in and being wild and crazy becomes less and less novel with time.

     What they don't realize is that soon enough they'll be in our position wishing for the times of being little and always being taken care of.

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