Remember when we were kids and all we wanted was to be grown up? My parents always told me not to grow up too fast and it’s funny, because on top of all the other things I didn’t listen to them about, this lesson in particular I wish I had. Here I am, just turned 21, and I would love to be six again and have my biggest worry be which outfit I was going to put my Barbies in. Being in my twenties is strange, people assume it’s all fun and young and free, when in reality I feel more trapped than ever before. I’m in my third year of college and it feels like I have all this independence because I live alone, and choose my bed time; hell I could eat ice cream for dinner and no one would be there to stop me. But, my dorm isn’t my permanent address. Right now it’s in the house I grew up in, the house with rules, and curfews and broccoli with Kraft mac and cheese. This independence I feel is only temporary until I move out and be on my own for real.
College is more like sleep away camp. At the end of the four years I still have to go home, and while I’m gone I still have to follow the rules my mom and dad taught me growing up. So here I am, sitting in my dorm room trying not to think about the impending doom of finals, realizing how weird being 21 is. You’re not a teenager by number but we still live under our parents’ thumb. I can say I’m an adult until I’m blue in the face, for the reasons I gave before, but at the end of the day I’m still afraid to go to the doctors by myself, and honestly I’m glad. I’m thankful for my parents because they know me so well. They know that I think I’m ready to take on the world and that I can handle anything that comes my way, but I am still growing and I have so much more to learn. They’ve given me a taste of independence and sometimes it really sucks. So perhaps the real lesson to learn in college is that maybe the saying, “don’t grow up too fast” still applies. For me, I definitely get caught up in the little things in life and I forget how important it is to be young and enjoy it!
Traveling for me is the best way to cure the “Wendy” effect and get back to being like Peter. When I travel I’m like a kid again on a new playground, exploring the foreign swing sets and teeter-totters through new cuisines and landmarks; not a care in the world except where are we going for dinner and what are we seeing tomorrow. I feel so lucky to be able to study abroad next semester. After I graduate from Neverland, I won’t really have another opportunity to travel without the constraints of a full time job. So, I’ve decided to grab Peter by the hand, take his advice and fly off to Neverland and enjoy it like I, too, am never growing up.