Too young to understand, too old not to know better
We all reach this age where parents start tossing around words like “responsibilities” and “self-reliance”. We get to that point where we hear “the world is a crazy, unforgiving place” so often it’s like a greeting.
Trust me, I know.
Unfortunately, this time also happens to coincide with the search for self, testing boundaries and finding our comfort zones. (Think I hit this stage hard as hell on my 18th birthday).
We fall into this trap of “freedom”. Sounds kinda oxymoronic, eh? Freedom shouldn’t be a trap. Let me explain then. When we’re younger, we want to grow up super fast so we don’t always have to listen to what mommy and daddy tell us. We grow a little older and get a later bedtime and we think we’ve accomplished something.
A little further down the road during adolescence we get to go to the cinemas with our friends and stuff like that and we’re the kings and queens of the world. So naturally the more freedom we get, the more we crave.
(IT’S A TRAP!!!)
Then comes the fun part. (WARNING: It’s not fun, it royally sucks). We find ourselves in limbo between teenagehood and adulthood, trying our damnedest to sort out our lives and become self-serving, upholding members of society. We try our hardest to make use of the last strands of our early years and blossom into productive, goal-oriented people.
Only one problem though – life doesn’t work that way.
All around us we have people pushing for us to be better faster. Everywhere we look there is someone else trying to direct us on how to ‘correctly’ lead successful lives. We get thrown under the bus, bombarded with all the responsibilities as we watch what we used to think was the privilege of adult freedom disappear in a puff of smoke.
I see it everyday – people baby-stepping their children to the end of the plank, then pushing them off the deep end and standing by the sidelines as water fills their lungs only to pull them out of the water just before it swallows them.
Yes, I know it sounds morbid, but am I wrong?
The thing is, when they pull us from the water it’s usually to say ‘I told you so’. It’s usually to bring back up all those time they told us that the world would chew us up and spit us out. And back into the water we go.
We somehow have to learn to fly before we even know we have wings; and they say the only way the nestling learns to fly is by flying…but how much like the baby bird are we really if we never seem to learn fast enough?
We reach this place where we are certain, from within ourselves, that we are absolutely, abjectly clueless…but everyone else is convinced we’re too old not to have most of the answers – even though no one ever taught us the answers.
So what’s the lesson we’re meant to learn? What is this seemingly invisible reasoning that dictates that making it out of the gray area makes you stronger?
It never seems to make any sense. We’re essentially handed a bag of paradoxes. We’re old enough to make our own decisions, but too young to understand which one is the ‘right’ one? We’re old enough to have freedom, but too young to understand the cost it comes at. We’re old enough to rely on ourselves, but too young to know how.
How frustrating is that?