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.

picture for blog

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.

cropped picture

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.”

Unending Affair

Dear Mexico,

Yes, I’m writing another post in the Missions Work Category with the tag of Mexico. Even though I’ve written so many that my sister thinks it must be the theme of my blog. Although it’s been two years since I saw beautiful you. Yes, two years. Two years today since I got my last glimpse of the country that changed my almost-sixteen-year-old life.

This letter is going to be brief. After all, I’ve written about you countless times. Seriously. My English, Writing, Spanish, and Socials teachers as well as my test markers all got to read about you. My friends and family do everything they can from rolling their eyes as I recall both the funny and heartfelt memories for the umpteenth time. Even though it’s been two years and my life has been filled with other experiences since, I still can’t stop thinking about you, Mexico.

You just taught me so, so much. Everyday, I think about you. There’s your beauty and the way it made me more beautiful. The landscape, the people, the art. There was the poverty and how it enriched me. I saw houses tinier than any house in Canada–but they were yellow and happy. There was the love that welcomed me with open arms. Your people who just plain and simple cared for me. The way Besenta bandaged my knee, the children who didn’t want me to leave, and Jorje with his smile. I learned about beauty, wealth, and love from you.

And now, well, I’m left to ponder it all. Almost from the first day I met you, I was in love. I said back then that I knew I’d come back. But now it’s been two years and I’m still at home. I was supposed to be back with you right now, but I’m not. And from what I can see of my future, I won’t be with you again for a long time, if ever. I miss you. It’s not what I imagined.

But I won’t give up on you. I never could. I will pray and write and dream. If I never see you again, I know that my first and only trip was exactly what I needed. No matter what, I’ll always love you. It’s an unending affair of amor. You are my first love for foreign countries and missions work. You are the one I will tell my children and grandchildren about one day. I love you, Mexico.

Love,

Elizabeth