I am okay with growing up – and in fact, I am savoring the process.
My mother wasn’t exactly granted the same opportunities as me, given she had an arranged marriage at the age of 21, got a divorce six years later, and raised a daughter by herself for the next fourteen. I am lucky enough, thanks to my mother’s hard work, to have been given the opportunities that she never received. I grew up as an only child and I was always showered with attention and comfort. I was told to reach for the stars and be ambitious and challenge myself, I was told to choose my friends wisely and to surround myself with loving people. But never once did my mother tell me how to live my life. The decisions I have made are for me and for my mother, as well as the rest of my family, and I am not resentful of that.
I am majoring in Economics and Political Science and I plan to attend law school. Not only do I think my capabilities exceed the expectations of what a pre-law student should look like, but I’m passionate about pursuing my education as far as it can go. This is not because I feel forced to be a corporate robot and live a mundane life and work a 9-5 job, but because I love to learn and I love to push myself. If this means working a 9-5 as a precursor to what I plan to achieve for myself, my family, and the world – then so be it.
It’s important to be in touch with oneself. I believe it. I’ve experienced it. I’ve spent so much time alone as an only child and as the “new girl”, since it always took time for me to make friends whenever I moved to a new town (which was often). When my mother wasn’t around (which unfortunately was often because she had to make a living for the both of us) I did a lot of self-reflecting. I was lucky enough to have this time, especially from such an early age, and I think that reflects my stability and focus and maturity today (am I tooting my own horn? Only children out there will fully understand what I mean!!!!). I am lucky enough to be at a phase where I know who I am and what I want; I’ve traveled and had adventures and experienced new things. I am past the obscure, dreamy, teenage phase, and I’ve entered adulthood – physically and mentally – willingly. I am okay with this, just like I am okay with those who aren’t in this same position as I am, voluntarily or involuntarily. DO YOU!
But I am not okay with the negative perception and negative reaction teenagers have of and towards people who willingly enter adulthood. There are teenagers who are scared of focus, diligence, and hard work – and even more scared of peers who have these characteristics. I know this sounds so stupid and so incredulous because I am a teenager myself but I will unapologetically admit and reiterate the fact that my background forced me early to leave the typical teenage mindset behind and enter a new one, the one needed to survive – but also the one that’s accepting of the fact that life moves forward, and that eventually it’s time to grow up.
Teenagers determined to use the inevitable grievances of life as an excuse to sit on their ass and avoid adulthood loosely throw around the word “society”, “consumerism,” “minimalism” and more without understanding their part in all of it. Teenagers who yearn to find themselves and identify who they are and what they want to do with their lives will put up a facade of spirituality and world understanding when in actuality, do not know what the fuck they want. And of course it’s okay to not know what you want when you’re young, there’s nothing wrong with that – but that doesn’t mean you can begrudge those who do.
I don’t have the privilege, nor the time, nor the skill of mindless banter to sit around on my ass and speak abstractly about humanity and society and shit like that. I’ve seen poverty firsthand while spending five years in India. I’ve lived through the struggles of a single mother and the struggles of a bipolar father. I’ve experienced social injustice while being a minority in the United States, not just in terms of my race but religion as well. Even more so, my religion and culture is appropriated and molded to fit the lives of the white and privileged. So no, I don’t have time to sit in my parent’s basement and talk about peace, love, and happiness. I’ll actively work towards spreading it, through my education and through my plan, no matter how boring or how uncool it seems. I have a responsibility towards myself, my mother, and the world. I never want to stop learning or trying to fulfill these responsibilities. My spirituality and my self-identification and my path to self-actualization and my path to fucking nirvana alongside my decision to work hard, get married, and take care of my family (and my mother, especially) is not mutually exclusive.
But this does not mean I want to age blandly. It isn’t just about getting a good job, getting paid, and taking care of my husband and children. It is about understanding myself every step of the way in the journey of taking responsibility and the journey of growing up, a never-ending process and evolvement that I am gladly accepting and beginning.
Quote: ““You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than the other girls.” – J.M. Barrie