When You're A 'Grown-Up'

An Essay By Madeline // 7/26/2016

The past year of my life has sped away from me. I’m sure many people have months like that—the ones that bleed into one another, so when you go up to the calendar to check the date, you realize you have two rows of boxes to cross off, two rows of appointments and quickly-jotted reminders that you didn’t even need.

I was working, going to class, plodding through piles of homework, searching out time for fun. My days were the fullest they’d ever been. When the time came for college applications, I wasn’t caught off guard or shocked or even sentimental; I added the task to my To-Do list and got it done. I came into this significant part of my life without any ceremony—because when you think about something huge, it’s much different than actually being in the thick of it. When you’re sitting in your room, methodically filling out your name and birthdate on the form, you don’t consider the implications.

I used to fantasize about being older. I think everybody does, when they’re young. At eleven and twelve and even thirteen, I courted daydreams of jobs and driving and college. And every time I reached those milestones—the first, tentative steps—they seemed like too much. Too cavernous, and unexplored. Too many variables. It’s scary to clock in as a new employee. It’s scary to buckle your seatbelt and turn the key in the ignition. It’s scary to scan the rows of desks for an empty chair. But then it gets easier, and then it becomes routine, and then it’s time for something new.

I’ve finally surpassed those three things—even driving, which came slow, but I’m glad I waited. In its usual fashion, the past year of my life has taken me on unanticipated roads. I’ve found that I don’t have to put too much thought into decision making; usually, life makes it for me. I wrote about finding the college of my dreams last year, but what I didn’t share was that I got accepted—and, in a strange twist of fate, my best friend of six years decided it was the college for her, too. We’re going to be roommates. Roommates. Which means, yes, that it’s time for another new, adult venture: I’m moving out in less than a month.

I never planned to live on-campus for college. I was one of those people that was adamant that the traditional college experience was not for me. I even toyed with the idea of going to online school for awhile. But I never planned on finding a college that far surpassed my wildest dreams, a college that—upon visiting—felt like home. And there’s no place like home.

I know this better than anyone. As a student who was homeschooled, I spent more time than most here, with my family. I wrote stories on the porch, and read in my bedroom, made grocery lists at the table with Mom and played board games on the living room rug with my brothers. I’ve always liked to be out and about, but I always had home to come back to—to my pink and green walls and my densely populated bookshelves, to my much-adored cat, to my family.

The scariest part of it all—the part that brings an occasional sting to my eyes, that I have to remind myself not to get caught up in—is the finality of childhood. My memory is filled with the staples of my youth: watching SpongeBob on the couch in the mornings, skittering Playmobile figures across the floor, laying in bed with Mom and reading, nerf wars with my brothers, movies and music with Dad. And I have to ask myself: when did this happen? When did some of these things come to an end, and how am I going to cope with others becoming less frequent? How do people just leave behind the best parts of their lives and strike out for something new?

It felt like, even as recently as a couple years ago, that childhood was going to last forever. That I’d get to keep waking up in my bed each day and coming down to say good morning to my Mom, and to roll my eyes at jokes from my Dad, and to whisper-yell at my brothers to “Be quiet, you idiots!” (always the diplomat). I used to dream about what the future held without really thinking about the whole package. But now the future is here, not staring me down; I’m within it, and it’s great, and it’s more than I would have hoped for, but it’s bittersweet.

I know I’ll be okay. I have my parents to thank for that. They’ve equipped me with everything I need, from the emotional to the material. They are the true motivators of my story, the people who drove me where I needed to be—quite literally, as well as metaphorically—and encouraged me, and loved me. I know they’ll be here just as much for me when I’m not upstairs, but an hour away.

It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s still a leap. It’s still new, and exciting, and uncharted. I’m not even nervous, really, or afraid—what I’m feeling is ready. I’m sad, but I’m ready. I’m anxious, but I’m ready. It’s time—and I’m ready. I know, because I was going about my usual tasks one day, and I realized something: I’m a grown-up. I have grown up. I knew it was true. It happened without me realizing.

Comments

Though you have changed in so

Though you have changed in so many ways since first we met there is something that hasn't changed, you still inspire me.
Homey, this is fabulous and definitely hits home. Though this is a personal piece it's very relatable on several levels. The warmth in your words is apparent and reading this felt as smooth as honey. Your thoughts were concise but detailed, you gave your reader a sense of closeness (or maybe that's just me :P).

Gosh goodness! I cannot believe we're doing this! I'm so glad to be going through it though with you by my side :) I look forward to all we'll experience and learn. Your writing is spectacular now, but I'm sure it'll change and become even more you as we move forward into the world of education.
Love you DCS, thanks for sharing such a personal and bittersweet piece! I know we both have a ton more growing to do, but I can tell you're grown up now, haha and I'm proud of you. Can't believe you'll be 19 next month! Ahhhhh!

Kassady | Tue, 07/26/2016

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

Hi Homey, I'm going through

Hi Homey,
I'm going through the same thing--trying to tell myself I'm growing up and someday very soon may leave home, so reading this--about you having already going past that place where you used to be... into the much dreamed of place you are in now--is very helpful. These parts of the essay I put a mental thumb-up on it while reading it. It was a different way of wording it than I have thought of, and comforting.

I’m sure many people have months like that—the ones that bleed into one another, so when you go up to the calendar to check the date, you realize you have two rows of boxes to cross off, two rows of appointments and quickly-jotted reminders that you didn’t even need.

When the time came for college applications, I wasn’t caught off guard or shocked or even sentimental; I added the task to my To-Do list and got it done. I came into this significant part of my life without any ceremony—because when you think about something huge, it’s much different than actually being in the thick of it.

The scariest part of it all—the part that brings an occasional sting to my eyes, that I have to remind myself not to get caught up in—is the finality of childhood.

It’s scary to clock in as a new employee. It’s scary to buckle your seatbelt and turn the key in the ignition. It’s scary to scan the rows of desks for an empty chair.

Lucy Anne | Tue, 07/26/2016

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you girls! <3

Thank you girls! <3

Kass--inspire YOU? You inspire ME! You've inspired me to swing dance, and go out of my comfort zone, and drive (yes, you were a huge motivator!) and to write my endless stories and poetry, and to be kind--the list goes on. It's funny; I don't often contemplate the unthinkable--if we hadn't been as good of friends (GASP!)--but when I do, I realize how very much you've had a hand in shaping who I am! I love you lots, DCS! Soooo excited for what the year has in store, and I'll see you soooon! And you're grown-up, too--even if you may not realize it yet. haha. I really didn't until I sat down to write this, and then it hit me: I can finally, fully and easily, take care of myself. And so can you! <3

Megan--(started to type Lucy, caught myself, yessssss victory!!!) I always love comments from you! You're one of my AP core people--always will be! I hope you're well and happy and enjoying life. I know it's hard to think about growing up and leaving home--it's as sad as it is exciting--and the only thing I can really tell you is to not worry about it. I can tell from your comment that you're not really concerned, just thinking about it; I would do that too, a year or so back--it would be just an idle thought in my mind, but it seemed so far off and away that it wasn't possible. But it's not, and it'll probably be here before you know it, so just enjoy yourself in the meantime! And embrace the time, when it comes--I know you'll be more than okay! :) Thank you so, so much for your kind words!

Madeline | Wed, 07/27/2016

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Yes!! My year has flown by.

Yes!! My year has flown by. It feels like just yesterday my brother was coming home from a long internship in NC and we were sitting down for thanksgiving dinner. In reality I just got back from a trip to the mountains with my fiancé to surprise his family and I'm working on wedding plans. It's crazy, but it's wonderful.
This is a good life. I'm excited for you and your upcoming college adventures!

Damaris Ann | Thu, 07/28/2016

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬

Thank you, Damaris! I'm

Thank you, Damaris! I'm excited for you and your upcoming marriage--I'm sure you must be buzzing! Are you still planning on December? (I think that's what you said a while back!)

Madeline | Sat, 07/30/2016

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Eh, I suppose this could be

Eh, I suppose this could be considered buzzing. :P so yes, yes things are buzzing 'round here. :)
Still planning on December!! The 23rd. :)
Hey random (ish) question here but what state are you from??

Damaris Ann | Sat, 07/30/2016

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬

This is great, Homey. I

This is great, Homey. I remember this feeling so distinctly. Although I was feeling VERY ready to get out of the house and I had always planned on living on campus, I still felt that impending end of an era. Nothing is quite the same when you come back, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Your life is going to be so full between everything you'll be doing that you won't even have time to feel sad. I'm so excited for you, Kass, and your new adventures!

Erin | Sun, 07/31/2016

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Damaris-- Ahh, that's not

Damaris-- Ahh, that's not long! It'll fly by, as I'm sure you know! :) I'm from the midwest, which is essentially corn country. Lots of corn. Excessive amounts of corn. Just corn. Corn. *falls to knees sobbing*

Erin-- Aw, thank you!! I'm excited myself...people keep asking if I feel nervous or anxious and I really don't. Just ready! Don't be surprised if I bombard you with questions as the semester starts, though! ;) "What is dorm etiquette when the kitchen is dirty and YOU KNOW WHO WAS LAST IN HERE AND THEY MADE A HORRIFIC MESS?!?!" Yeah, those, Miss RA!

Madeline | Sun, 07/31/2016

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Homie!

Homie! I'm so excited for you and your new adventures :) I know full well the bittersweet feeling of "growing up". You will have that strange combination of emotions other times in your life as well. I find myself in the middle of a crossroads in my life right now too. I am being led in a different direction with my future career right now. I just turned down a job offer that might make others scratch their heads, but I knew I needed to turn it down. I had to choose between making money and doing what I felt God wanted me to do, and trust Him with providing for me. It is indeed a strange but not entirely bad feeling to look back and see how far you have come before looking ahead to your future. I will be praying for and cheering you and Kass as you take that next step into your respective futures :) Blessings to you!

Wings of Eternity | Sun, 07/31/2016

"Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

Oh Homey! (Let's just pretend

Oh Homey!

(Let's just pretend I haven't spent ages away from here...shhhh)

So great to get an idea of whats going on in your life! I definitely get the "growing up" feeling...funnily enough, my best friend and I were discussing it yesterday. Its new, and exciting...but wonderful :)

I've said this before, but I love the way you write. It's so relatable to the reader. Please keep using this gift you're blessed with. So excited for you! What a wonderful thing to be going to college...all the best my friend xo

Maddi | Fri, 08/26/2016

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

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