Growing Pains


Reflections of a college kid, whose childhood friends are oftentimes nowhere to be found.

My childhood was a millimeter away from perfect. Though I did not realize it then, a little bit of heartbreak mixed with gallons of adventure made my budding years unforgettable; not one revocable moment. Most of these moments were composed of time with loving family, experiences of revelation as I was learning about the world around me, and escapades with my age mates that made this giant world seem conquerable. Prior to the world of overbearing professors and nagging boyfriends, we were free even though we were restrained by the oversight of our parents. The boundaries of the world would not dare cage us.

Then middle school arrived in all its glory (dumb dumb dumb!) What an awkward stage; the moment where we burst from our cute shells and became teenagers. Acne creams, tampons, sports bras, deodorant and other once foreign objects became essentials. Our bodies were transforming into those of women and our counterparts were starting to look more like men. It was a rite-of-passage when someone ditched their glasses for contact lenses or changed their haircut from ‘after school special’ approved to that of Seventeen chic. Junior high was that interface where experimenting was cool, changing our musical taste and redefining ourselves daily was habitual, surveying our world and hopefully becoming more socially keen was expected and realizing our preferences were what we least expected became normal.

Then high school rolled around and we were gridlocked. Categories became relevant all of a sudden and friends who we shared our lives with became strangers. How did this happen? We were just talking about how high school would not change us over the summer. Months pass without speaking to your former partner-in-crime and your mother asks the awkward question: “Whatever happened to {insert name here}? They never call or come over like they used to.” You sink into deeper loneliness after she verbalizes what you feel every time you see this person. What happen? Did I change? The questions haunt you and you wonder how you got to this point, several years ago you were inspecting the neighborhood together on your Huffy bicycles and now you can barely have a conversation with this person. Let’s face it, you both changed.

In my case, my parents encouraged me to focus on my schoolwork. While some friends were out partying and wasting time, I was forced to worry about my future. It got to the point where the only thing on my mind was getting into a good school and making a difference in the world. The last thing on my mind was having a life. How much of a life could I have without a car? By the end of the four years, all of us could drive, most of us could vote, and some of us were on the brink of something new and exciting. I then experienced another period of shedding.  The subtle jealousy and exclusive behavior of my peers made me realize who my friends were. In other words I left high school with one true friend remaining. Not to my surprise, my college friends had similar stories.

Some of you reading probably think I am really sad or hard to get along with. Nonetheless, as we get taller and curvier our minds also change, hopefully for the better. In the end many of us who started at the same place, end up miles away from each other with no common ground to relate on. Though it’s unfortunate, it is part of the growing pains that we must endure to better ourselves and our future.

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