“When You’re Older”

Isabelle Paley | The Chronicle

When I was ten, I remember wanting to go to the mall with my friends and my mom said, “When you’re older.” When I was fifteen and wanted my first boyfriend. My mom said “When you’re older.” Now eventually I did get to do all of those things but at the time I was offended that I wasn’t seen as mature enough to do these activities. I thought that there was some task that I had to complete to be “older” and get all the perks that come with it. But who decided when I was older? Was it my parents, society, or was it myself? Was there some point that I had to cross the bridge from adolescents into adulthood or was it gradual? Was there some adult decision that I made in my life that put me into that category of “older” because, at 17, all I want is to be younger?

My whole life I have been looking forward to the day that I go off to college, when I start my first adult job, and when I am married and have kids. I have been preparing for that day when I get to control my life and not my parents telling me to wait. But as I enter my senior year of high school and am so close to that finish line of independence, all I want is to be dependant. I want to be dependent on my parents, my sisters, and my friends. I question myself daily, “Isabelle, why are you not excited for your high school years to be over?” And I think the answer is that I am not ready to be in charge of my life. I am not ready to be the one who has to make my doctor’s appointments, wake myself up in the morning, and make my own dinner. I am not ready to have to pay for my groceries or to go to work every day. I have been waiting my whole life to make these decisions that come with adulthood but as the days until graduation countdown, I am not ready.

I want the ignorance that comes with adolescents. I want to believe the world is a perfect place full of gleaming opportunities instead of one where I am limited. I want to pretend I’m a princess or an astronaut instead of the average 9-5 job I will probably end up with. I crave the happiness and imagination that I had when I was younger. I wish that younger me stopped thinking about “when I was older” and just enjoyed being a child. Because in five months I will officially turn 18. In five short months, I will be an adult – but not the one younger me was hoping for. I pray that come May, I will be ready to leave the nest and that somehow the excitement of independence will find me again like it did when I was little. But for now, I am wallowing in the fact that my childhood is almost over, and I will be thrown into this big and scary world feeling unprepared. And I am not ready.