For The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: The Golden Years
For this week’s challenge, we’re asking you to explore what age means to you. Is the the loss of youth, or the cultivation of wisdom? Do things get better as you grow older, or worse? There are many ways to interpret age, often depending on your relationship with the passing of time.
I take Developmental Psychology class in college. Let me rephrase it this way: Developmental Psychology is a compulsory paper forced down our throats for us Psychology students at Xavier’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love it as much as, say, Piaget, but I don’t think you could study the span of human lives in say, a 100 lectures that are allocated to this subject, and do it justice. Like our professor said, “I can teach you about grief and loss and death after you sit through 6 hours of class, but you might as well let your brain ooze out from your ears, lie down here and die.”
But apart from the truly academic perspective to human development with fancy words and psychological jargon, what it has taught me is what it feels like to grow up. While it was fairly simple to understand what it was to grow up till about adolescence, because we have gone through it, but it was when we started doing Young Adulthood onwards (20 years and above) that I got a, shall we say, slap in the face.
For the past two days I’ve been trying to study what adulthood is all about. (I gave up, by the way. I’ll cram the night before the exam.) And suddenly I realized, I have stopped growing up and have started growing old. Now I am officially, an adult. (Okay, not really. I’m 19 and adulthood starts at 20.) But that means it is time for a looking back and evaluating.
What I do see is that as happy as I am about my present-I have a great mix of friends, both the crazy kind and the serious kind- similar to me and exactly opposite, and I have a sense of who I am, what my limitations are and what my strengths are, I do not regret a lot of things I have done, or the choices I have made, I haven’t done a lot of things. I mean I have- stayed up to watch the first sunrise of a new year, letting go of the person I have loved, had an obsessive crush, pulled an all nighter just for the sake of it, slept for 15 hours straight, had a breakfast of donuts and Maggi Noodles, watched a 2 AM Live-Streaming of a show I absolutely adored on a weekday and going to college high on adrenaline and serotonin (basically happy and excited), a Harry Potter (epic fail) Marathon- all of them! But I haven’t done a lot of things with people. I haven’t let people into my deepest thoughts and emotions, which I don’t mind, but I know people do. I haven’t gone backpacking with my friends, for instance. (Okay, that’s all I have to complain about. Sigh.)
But, Developmental Psychology has taught me amazing lessons in life- that friends are essentially all we need to be content in life. Especially for us Women: a great bunch of friends would help us to move on and anchor our frustrations with. We have a group on Whatsapp where we bitch about people we dislike and can’t tell them. But you know what? It helps us cope. And move on happily.
So, growing up and growing old to me means identifying with yourself and realizing what makes you happy. The Pursuit of Happiness is what life is to me. And soon (hopefully) when I move out, I’ll learn independence from family and all the free food and free WiFi will go.
And it is as I grow old (OhmyGawd. I’m a grown up! *sobs*) that I’ll laugh at what I used to think and say, and I’ll laugh at my friends with them. But you know what? That’s the main point- I won’t regret my past, I will laugh at it.
Optimism? I think so.