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RE: Saying Goodbye to Youth

February 25, 2017

Photo by Riley Taylor featuring Lindsey Hughes for Mad Sounds Magazine Issue 21

 

I’ll be turning 20 in September. Two decades. That’s how long I’ve been living on Earth. I’m sure my parents would look down on me, laughing, and say, “That’s nothing!”

 

But it is something.

 

Almost two weeks ago, Emily Zheng wrote a Think Piece about saying goodbye to youth. She expressed the many things she’ll miss about growing up and the things she has yet to experience. I thought I’d write a response to her editorial.

 

Adulthood is daunting, unpredictable and holds many more responsibilities than when you were 15, laying on your parents’ couch waiting for the next episode of Pretty Little Liars to come on. At 19, I haven’t experienced quite everything adulthood has to offer, but I moved out of the house, started university and grocery shop for myself on a weekly basis. I think these are some of the things we believe adulthood to be made up of. But really, those are only extensions of what it has to offer.

 

Adulthood itself is an extension of youth. Sure, you have to pay bills and consider what you want to do for the rest of your life, but the friends don’t stop, the family annoyances continue, and the world keeps spinning. 

 

During high school graduation, I definitely felt nostalgic and like I was losing a huge piece of me. What was I going to do not roaming the narrow halls of my high school or after quitting my part-time job? Everything suddenly felt hazy. The night before I left for university, I cried in my dad’s arms because it felt like I was never going to see him again. But the youth brain has a way of making a big deal about everything.

 

I’ve gained so much since leaving home. Although I miss my friends and family like crazy, I’m excited to take on a whole new chapter of life. As someone who has always been independent, maybe this feels natural to me, but I look at life completely different now that I am away from home. I take better care of myself because I know nobody else will. Though it still takes courage, I am able to approach people and start a conversation without holding my mom's hand like I did when I was six. 

 

I think people expect a huge difference in feeling as soon as they turn 18. As if the sky is supposed to break open and someone reaches down handing you a guidebook and kit on the "ways of adulthood," when in reality the sun rises and sets just like any other day, and the sky remains in one piece.

 

Just like Emily, I too loved my youth, but I’m quickly falling in love with adulthood, however you want to define or describe it. I’m falling in love with the idea of how many cafés there are yet to sit in, the people I have yet to meet and relationships to create, and places to see, and music to hear. Adulthood may be busier, scarier and unpredictable, but really, it’s just an extension of what you’ve been doing this whole time which is growing and learning.  

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