Growing Up

Since moving out of my parents’ place, I have changed a lot.

At first, I would have made any parent proud.  I didn’t buy junk food, and I always ate my vegetables before my dessert.  I went running every morning, and handed all of my homework in on time, if not early.  I read all of my textbooks cover to cover.  I kept my room spotless, and washed the dishes every day.  I never bought anything that I didn’t absolutely need, I never ate out, and I checked with my roommates before leaving the house.  I passed up on fun events in order to do ministry or schoolwork or chores.

Today I finished off another bag of chips, and the only exercise I got was walking to and from the bus stop and the restaurant for lunch.  I’m taking dance lessons.  I have handed in assignments late in order to get more sleep.  Sometimes I skim my textbooks.  My room is a complete disaster, and the dishes are piling up in the sink.  I bought myself some movies and a sewing machine.  I eat out at least every couple of weeks.  I go in and out of the house whenever I want without worrying about checking in with my roommate.

Maybe I have become irresponsible.

What I do know, though, is that over the past three years, I have been growing up.

Everything that I never learned when I was younger, I am learning now.  I might have learned how to run a ministry and keep a tight budget and a packed schedule when I was twelve.  I knew what it was like to lose sleep, to worry, and to work hard until I reach a goal, but I never learned how to live.

My life often looks to me like a disaster, but it is so much more than that.  It is a beautiful mishmash of failures and successes and joys and pain and learning.  I am starting to learn how to take care of my mind and my body, but to not take it too seriously.  I am learning how to have friends and how to have spontaneous fun with people.  I am learning that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but I don’t have to be, if I don’t want to.  I am learning that I don’t always need to be careful.  I am learning that I am capable of protecting myself, but I don’t always need to.

I am learning to find peace in the middle of chaos,

joy in the middle of disappointment,

vibrant life in the middle of dry monotony.

Beauty can be found in the middle of pain.

Hope can be found even in loss.

Grief will come, but it will not take me over.

Life will happen, and I will make the most of it.

Here’s to growing up too early, and here’s to never growing up too late.

Here’s to being an adult, surviving, thriving.

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