When I Grow Up

High school is a confusing time for everyone. You’re figuring out who you are and where you belong and what you’re supposed to be doing. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you never actually figure it out. And maybe you’re not supposed to. In high school, few will figure out who they are, some will think they figure out who they are, but most will have no idea the entire time.

Most people think that freshmen are the most awkward ones—and it’s true. They have no idea what they’re doing. But most people forget that seniors are going through their own kind of transition.

Taylor Swift’s “22” perfectly describes the way I’m feeling as a senior. “We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way. It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah.” We love being at the top of the school. Herds of seniors march through the hallways shouting the senior chant. We’re laughing harder and having more fun than ever, because we’re experiencing all of our “lasts.” With every fun experience we have in the back of our minds “Next year at this time, we’ll all be off at our own colleges with different people and new experiences.” While it lasts, this time is incredible. But it also sucks.

 A lot of us are over high school classes. We feel too old to be there, and we want to be doing something bigger. Taylor Swift may be singing “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22,” because she actually is 22, but for many senior girls, we’re singing along because we actually feel older than we are. We feel ready to move on.

People wonder why sometimes high school girls like older guys. But the older guys embody everything a senior year girl wants. They’re new, exciting, mature (well, arguably more mature than the guys fighting for naptime in first block). And they’re proof that there’s more to life than rooms filled with dry-erase boards and posters of Einstein.

I hate the saying “The youth is wasted on the young.” But sometimes I can’t help wondering if it’s true. We spend so much of youth wanting to grow up, and when we do, we want to turn back the years. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve celebrated my step mom’s 29thbirthday. Even I’ve wanted to be 17 since I was 10. And I thought that once I got to this age, I wouldn’t want to grow up. Yet I’ve spent the last few months wanting to be 18.

It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with the present. I think we just always need something to look forward to, and once we get to a certain point in our lives we start realizing that we have less birthdays to look forward to. That’s not meant to sound morbid or pessimistic. It’s just the truth.

I will only be 17 for a few more months. I will only be a high school student until June. And I will only be alive once. So I plan on taking advantage of every single moment I have left of these days, because when I grow up, I want to good things to look forward to as well as to look back on.

“We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way. It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah.”