Growing Up Is Good

It’s been a whole year since I walked across the stage at my graduation ceremony. I wasn’t actually keeping track or planning to remember, but watching parts of the video of this year’s grad reminded me anyway. And so, here I am, contemplating away.

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Growing up is such a funny thing. When you’re young, there is nothing that you want more than to grow up and do all the things you see grown ups doing. You know, drink coffee, stay up late, drive a car, have a job and your own money, get married and have your own children. At least, that was what I wanted. I thought that growing up would be so much fun.

I remember a girl, probably about 16 or 17 at the time, saying to me once that it “was better to be a kid.” I was around 7 then so she was saying it to me. Of course, I didn’t agree because growing up seemed so much more exciting to me.

But then, I soon learned, as you grow older, that there is nothing that you want more than to fall back into the “old days” of swing sets and finishing school before lunchtime. Back then, when birthday parties and surprise treats and neighbourhood friends were the highlights of our days. Back then, when we dreamed of playing Barbies or drawing a big chalk house on the road once Math was finished. Back then, when life was simple, free, and happy. And as soon as we grow up, it seems we desire the things of yesterday, just as much as we once wished for the life of tomorrow.

Today, I think back on my grad ceremony and the desires of that day. I remember the beautiful purple gown with the crazy hoop skirt, made by an amazing friend and finished that morning. I remember the curly half-up-do, the gorgeous French nails done by my friend, and my sister’s make-up on my face. The desire to look as beautiful as I could be. I remember my friends and how dashing they were and how we all took loads of pictures in the garden. The desire for relationship. I remember the dinner and the picture boards and the speeches and the prom that I was so nervous for. The desire to do well. I remember having to lift up my skirt whenever I walked and getting sore feet by the end of the night. I remember saying good-bye and taking my hoop skirt off to sit in the car and riding home thinking about how beautiful the night had been. The desire to go back and relive the good moments and forget the bad.

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But you know, I don’t want to go back. Not to May 24th, 2012. Or to last year. Or to ten years before. No, I want to go forward.

Because I have gone forward this year. I am a very different person than I was a year ago when I walked across the stage with a purple hoop skirt peeking under my grad gown. I have new desires, hopes, and dreams. And that is OK. It is good, in fact.

And I can look at the 900 or so pictures that my sister snapped and smile. I can remember and laugh, reminisce and not cry. Because that is a memory, along with every other day beyond this moment. It is beautiful in its own way and I will remember the beauty. And I wouldn’t want to go back because like we all thought when we were little — “growing up is good.”

The Bend In The Road

For the last seventeen years, my life has been a fairly even road. I’ve stumbled on rocks and thorns, but they were along the path. I couldn’t always see them, but the road seemed somewhat the same from day-to-day. Even when I changed and grew, the road beneath my feet remained as always.

Two weeks ago, I dressed up like a princess and entered a room that felt strange and familiar. I knew many people, yet they were all dressed in gowns and suits and grown up. Some of the girls came escorted by the boys we used to think had cooties or something. All of us put on a cap and gown and took a diploma, signifying the completion of school. It was something we’d never done before.

Each of us gave a speech. We shared future plans for education and work. There were future nurses, teachers, lawyers, and artists in the crowd. We talked about God and how he had been so good. We spoke of our education and childhoods as if they were over because they are.

We threw our hats in the air. It is over, I thought. The Math, days at home, and studying all night. It is all finished at last. I looked around at my friends with fondness, remembering the plays and other fun times we’d had. The comradery, joy, and laughter. This was the last day of all that. I walked down the aisle alongside a good friend. People snapped pictures, my friends and family smiled and cheered. I looked at each one and could only smile. Our days together as they have been are over.

We danced the night away in our ball gowns and suits. I danced with joy for the happiness that I truly felt. I couldn’t be sad then. Even though it has come to an end.

I’ve had several days to ponder it all and think of the right words to describe it. There really are no right words. Everything from that night is still a blissful cloud that I cannot fathom.

Last night, my friend, Esther, and I talked about graduation and the road ahead. It is hard to comprehend that we’re really finished our homeschool years and all that entailed. We pondered about ten years down the road.

“It’ll be fun to see what everyone does,” she said.

“Yes,” I agreed, starting to imagine it all.

It will be fun though not without its trials. It will be hard and scary and strange. But God will go with us. We’re going to new places and meeting new people. The road is changing. There is a bend in it now. But the God who created the road never changes — no, He remains the same.

Changing But Not

The other night, my friend, Holly, and I were talking about how we missed each other since our play ended. We chatted about change and how it is imminent. We marveled at our coming graduation this June. I feel so young right now, she said. How can I be graduating? I wondered the same thing, too. I am changing.

I used to be weak and sad. In fact, less than a year ago I would have told you that I wasn’t very happy. Now, I’m joyful and so much stronger. I love to live, most of the time. I have many wonderful friends who make me feel so loved, although I used to feel lonely. I feel like a changed soul.

At the family get-togethers, I was once the child who eagerly unwrapped colourful presents and darted around the house like crazy. This year, I realized how different I am now as I watched my five-year-old cousin and her little friend take my place. Meanwhile, I helped make the dinner and ate in the living room. It was like watching the shadows of myself from years ago. And I thought, Oh, how I have changed.

This week, I will apply for university. It’s crazy. Just looking at the application I wondered how I could be doing this. How am I this old? Because it seems like just yesterday that I was a five-year-old like my cousin, dressing Barbies, refusing to eat turnips, and wanting to grow up so badly. Life changes so quickly. I just cannot comprehend it.

Some things change for the worse though. I used to read my bible everyday. Over the holidays, that changed, too. There was just so much to do and so many people to see. Feelings rushed through me and things just happened. It was strange. I didn’t know how to tell God, even though He already knew. I wanted Him to approve but I was scared. And so I stopped. I changed in the worst way.

Last night, I promised Him we’d meet once more. Today, I sang my favourite Amanda Falk songs that remind me of His glory. I read some verses in Isaiah and I told Him my thoughts and why I’d been so absent. And I realized, some things do change like your age and friendships and feelings, but God remains the same, now and always and forevermore.

So now, I’m changing…but not.