As of the time that I’m writing this (10:04pm on Wednesday, March the 4th, 2015) I’ve just completed my second ever day at university. I’m sitting here thinking about it all. And it’s scaring the shit out of me. This whole ‘growing up’ thing is absolutely terrifying – I want it to happen so badly and I want to be all grown up and do adult things and pay taxes and cook all of my own meals and take full responsibility for myself, but at the same time I want to be 4 years old again and I want to be carried everywhere and I want to finger paint for hours on end and I want to make a mess and then throw a tantrum and have someone else clean it up for me. I’ve always dreamed of independence, but now that I’m starting to be introduced to it I’m not so sure that it’s what I thought it would be.
I personally think that the phrase ‘growing up’ doesn’t really do justice to the amount of energy it takes to fully transition from a teenager to an adult. You learn so much about yourself, about the society you live in and about the planet we live on along the way. You lose friends, you gain friends, and you begin to see the world from a completely different perspective. You start to question things. Your opinions change. You look back and grow to hate your early teenage self. You start to become a new person.
You don’t grow upwards; you grow outwards. There comes a time when you’re not just plodding through life like the upright trunk of a tree. You grow branches; the beginning of new learning experiences. Along the way, you’ll grow smaller branches simultaneously with the principal – a multi-dimensional learning experience that will eventually leave you feeling enlightened.
I love the person that I’m growing out to. I’m discovering things about my sexuality that I previously wasn’t open to feeling. I’m so much more confident than I used to be. I know more about my body and how it reacts to certain things. My anxiety has decreased immensely, purely because I’ve learned to organise myself properly so as to avoid certain things that I know stress me out and have a negative impact on my health. I’ve learned that I tend to act impulsively, and that’s not always a positive thing.
You have so much to learn about yourself, regardless of your age. You’re constantly going to learn throughout your life. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – those are the times that you’ll generally learn the most. Don’t see your mistakes as a failure. See them as an area to improve; try to make light of every situation, no matter how bad it may seem. Take care of yourself. Have a bath every once in a while. Listen to some soothing music, take a nap, immerse yourself in a book. Don’t ever feel as if you have to be somebody, in particular. You don’t have to take a certain career, you don’t have to be somebody that you know you aren’t. Don’t ever feel as if you can’t do something.
There’s always a way.
It may take a while and it may take effort on your behalf but if it’s something that you truly want, it’ll all be worth it in the end. You’ll be okay. It’ll seem at times that you won’t, and times like those can be traumatic and can greatly affect the way you view your future, which can, in turn, affect the way that you live your future. But, you’ll be okay. Growing up is a superlative segment of your life. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes, but there’s always a way out of it. You can make it through the tough times. There are people around you that love you dearly. You have so much you can accomplish in your life, so don’t waste it worrying about things that you shouldn’t be worrying about.
You can do it.
Words by Emma // Photography by Ann