“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things” (Kurt Vonnegut)
This past Friday, I woke up and suddenly realized I was seventeen! Yes, seventeen, that frightfully exciting age that every little girl dreams of being, because she will finally be “grown up.” That age, where your childhood starts slipping away and adulthood comes into view. My overly confident five year old self imagined this very mature age feeling very different. At seventeen, I imagined that I would have my life together, emotionally, physically, spiritually, know everything, including exactly how to become an adult. Basically, I would be perfect. Ha! Insanity is the best word I can conjure up to describe this foolhardy idea.
Growing up is daunting in many more ways my five year old self could have fathomed. There are countless opportunities to make mistakes, hurt oneself and others. Life changing decisions are looming on the horizon that will affect years to come. One must be able to distill lies from truth and separate emotion from rationality. One, must also learn how to not be their own enemy and to trust that the Lord has a good plan.
Growing up involves responsibilities, choices, and burdens, that although I have yet to carry, are coming. Everything that once seemed so simple now seems to be impossibly complicated. With all these things piling up, I don’t want to lose the awe, wonder, appreciation for beauty and imagination my childhood contained. It it sobering to think that I might forever lose my grasp on my precious childhood.
You see – it’s the small things in life that matter. The real and pretend tea parties where I got all dressed up. The adventures in the tree house built by dad, or the garden where your mom let you “plant” butterfly bushes. It’s the problems that were so easily fixed with a hug from your mother and a scoop of home made ice cream. It’s the scent of hot chocolate and warm cookies during winter nights. The hours of cuddling underneath warm blankets hearing stories read aloud in a familiar sweet voice. It’s the smell of your mother’s turkey on Thanksgiving Day. The early morning walks picking flowers and being told stories of princesses, ladybugs and dragons while holding your dad’s hand. It’s the wind on your face, leaves in your hair and scent of fall in the air. Clouds that through your young eyes look like characters from your Beatrix Potter books. Your first tooth, haircut, ride on a bike, adventure through your yard. The sense of wonder, awe, and the endless imagination that brimmed from you.
All these small, seemingly unimportant events mean something because they are the first pages in our life story. They make up our childhood, our life, our perspective and they can not be buried or left behind just for the sake of maturity.
Although I’m only seventeen, I’m learning that all these “moments” give us something to grasp on to when our childhood starts slipping away underneath the pool of life. Yes, there are changes and responsibilities that come in time that I’m willing to accept but never at the cost of completely losing all sense of wonder and joy at the sight of the beauty that surrounds us.
My five year old self is trapped inside this older body. I do not feel ready for all life is going to bring my way. I’m starting to realize how little I really know and that being older really isn’t as care free and easy as it seems. This game called “life” can be so complicated and a little challenging to play. It doesn’t necessarily come with a step by step pictures included instruction manual. My five year old self, just wants to turn back time to the good old days where everything was more simple.
Rest assured, in spite of the fact that I’m sort of panicking at how quickly these years are flying by, and have spent most of this post reminiscing about my childhood, it’s all ok. I know I have my family and their support and I can always count on the Lord’s good plan for my life. I shall try my hardest to enjoy all the good, sweet times, and face the challenges that lay ahead, with my chin lifted and with the confidence of a five year old…Until that swift thing I’ve heard some call adulthood comes knocking at my door.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11