The High Flyer: Childhood is over

As I grow older, it’s important to see what each stage of life has to teach me

A few weeks ago while I was cleaning the house with my family, my mom decided to play our old “Steve Songs” CD. “Steve Songs” is my family’s name for an album of children’s songs we used to listen to when my brother and I were young, including songs about Opposite Day, turtles named Spyrtle, being a hero and more.

Although it had always been at the back of my mind, that day was the first time I faced the fact that my childhood was truly over. Hearing those songs brought back a flood of memories from my childhood: building forts out of pillows, playing fairies with my neighbor and turning our couch into a rocket ship. I realized I missed being a child and would continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Some things are inevitable for everyone as they grow up. The older we get, the more responsibilities, pressures and expectations pile up that weren’t there when we were children. We begin to care more about our impression on others, conforming to societal expectations in a way kids never care to do.

Looking back: The absence of pressures, expectations and responsibilities I enjoyed during childhood are things I miss as a high schooler. (Illustration by Erin Loh)

Knowing I could never go back to being a child, free of everything that comes with growing up, made me desperately sad. I wished I could go back to being a kid and stay that way forever. 

However if I somehow got my wish and stayed a kid forever, I would have missed out on being a high schooler; some of the experiences I’ve had in high school are things I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. 

For example, during my time in high school, I thoroughly enjoyed joining the color guard, meeting supportive mentors and having new freedoms, like choosing my own bedtime.

But perhaps more important than all the fun things I’ve done in high school are the things I’ve learned, both about myself and about the world around me. High school has given me the chance to explore my interests and beliefs through various classes, clubs and activities. 

Discovering who I am has allowed me to take leaps of faith. I will never forget the time I dropped the sport I had five years of experience in for color guard, which I was new to, but more passionate about. 

Additionally, I’ve grown aware of the broken world around me through seeing the messy political situations and racial discrimination in this country. I’ve been able to understand what others are going through, allowing me to be compassionate to others and thankful for what I have.  

All this to say, growing up is not a bad thing. Each stage of life we hit, we learn new things, experience more things, suffer more things. Everything we go through changes us; and by the end of our lifetime we become people shaped and backed by a wealth of experiences behind us. 

I think time is one of the most beautiful things in this world. It moves only forward; once a moment passes, we can never go back to it again. Sometimes the passing of time can seem like a foe, but in the long run, it is a good thing after all.