The Fairytale of Growing Up


Wake up call: none of us are young forever. In spite of all the high-end anti-aging creams and morning vitamins and P90x ab shredder workouts life-altering medical treatments, we will all succumb to one ailment or another, with some faring better than others. And if we don’t surrender to the end of our natural lives (by some miracle of science we can live indefinitely), rest assured our planet will blink us out of existence sooner or later. That is provided we don’t destroy our lovely terrestrial body first. And assuming that our pillaging, exploiting, and excavating doesn’t turn our big blue planet a much less attractive shade of brown before the sun decides to call it a day.

But I find it’s easier to deal with our finite mortality one day at a time. And right now, I’m focused on growing up.

Aged and wizened adults kindly remind me that I am no longer ten and cannot, in fact, pretend that I can be whatever I want. The construction paper posters and crayon awards that plastered my walls in elementary school are now obsolete little lies that are quietly slipped in with Thursday’s trash. Somehow growing up requires me to relinquish my red velvet throne of possibility and trade it in for the shabby bonds of physics and the philosophies of Plato.

Call it teenage rebellion or youthful naivety, but I disagree. Growing up is not a chore nor is it the end of any beautiful period in our lives. The stigma that our best years are behind us, filled with applesauce cups, cardboard boxes that turned into castles, and absolutely no reason to quit is false.

Listen to me, we’re so young. You’re so young. Our youthfulness is not a fragmented glass ceiling that distorts our reality like puddled water, effectively saving ourselves from whatever demons lurk on the other side. Instead, our youth serves as an axe to trample the invisible wall between the world and us. Growing up hands us this beautiful opportunity to care about this beautiful planet we inhabit and embrace it for what it really is.

We are a powerful generation. We are a generation united by lines of code, Twitter posts and food blogging. A generation streaming bucketfuls of information from China to Switzerland to Sri Lanka to Bali at speeds rivaled only by light itself.

And we are a generation that has a duty to stick it to the universe. We must scream into the empty void of dark space that we will not be divided by race, sexuality, distance, time… anything. That our generation will watch each other’s six in our not-so-quiet resolve to change our world. Because in the end I don’t want our futures to be dictated by the empty, but well meaning, words of our elders and the number of zeros before the decimal place on our paychecks.

We have so much time to forge our way out of one-car garages and frozen dinners to create the greatest feats humanity has ever seen. We have time before the sun runs out of hydrogen and implodes on itself to find a way off this planet and survive on Naboo. We have time to uncover the mysterious reason behind the Mona Lisa’s infamous smirk and laugh at ourselves that we didn’t figure it out earlier.

And I have time to figure out how to end this article… But I’ve relinquished myself to the fact that I won’t really ever finish it, because it will never be perfect. Much like our generation, I will never have all the time I want to primp this piece to perfection. I’ll have to throw it into the fire before my fingers type the last period and believe that it’s for the best.

Because we could spend our whole lives preparing to hit ‘submit’, or we could flop around in our room for a while, hurl our pillows against our solid bedroom walls (repeatedly), take a final, definitive gulp of our smoothie, shut our eyes tight, and slam that ‘submit’ button before we’re ready. Because we have bigger adventures to tackle and we have enough time to change the world.

Written By: Hannah Shows

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