At some point, if it hasn’t happened already, you’re going to be assaulted by an epiphany. You’ll be at a party, you’ll break someone’s heart, you’ll see a friend do a line off the bathroom sink, and you’ll realize, you’re not young anymore.

You’ll come into your house and see your friends passing a joint, or shotgunning beers or doing some ostentatiously harder drug, and you’ll realize that this is very real.

We aren’t children.

Remember high school? I remember sitting in my basement with my friends, just wishing we were old enough to drive. Driving meant we could do what we wanted, we were totally free.

Emma Contic / Graphics Editor

Emma Contic / Graphics Editor

To me, it meant dating. Remember your first few girlfriends, (or boyfriends, what have you)? Remember how hard it was to actually do anything with them?

If you were dating before having a car, forget about it, having your parents driving you two to a movie was a mortifying ordeal.

In my mind, a car would change all that. I had images of my cool, mobile self asking out a girl, picking her up, taking her to dinner and then to a movie or something.

Cause that’s what you did when you were old enough. And I desperately wanted to be old enough. But it didn’t stop at driving, being ‘old enough’ has been a prevailing concept our entire lives.

Old enough to have video games, old enough to date, have sex, go to college, move out, start.

All that time we were waiting to grow up, we didn’t realize what it entailed. I didn’t realize all that I had. Dinner was always made, cookies always in the cabinet and cereal always on top of the fridge.

Though I had my freedom, I could go out and see people, do whatever, I had that home to go back to, I had food to eat, a bed and lights and security.

But I couldn’t see that, I couldn’t see past my apathy towards the present and my desire for the future. I’ve been waiting my whole life to grow up.

Now, its different. I’m 20. I’m a second semester junior, I’m a journalism major, I have an apartment, a car, the list goes on and on, the title, earned in the 20 years I’ve spent here.

And growing up is terrifying. I need to break into a field that has too many applicants as it is, where the physical newspaper is dying out and almost all media is controlled by five people.

I’ve been single for longer than I care to admit in an article, and I’m assaulted by the choice of starting my life up here with my friends, or losing them all after school when I go back home to New York.

The more I learn, the older I get, the farther I feel from home. I’m beginning to fear that I’ve grown up. But what does that mean? Are we grown up? What does it mean to be an adult?

I’ve been waiting all this time to get to college but once I got here, I feel like I blinked and I’m more than halfway through it. I feel like I’ve been spun one too many times around and flung into life.

Ever since college started I’ve been holding onto my childhood as much as I can. I’m not sure I’m ready to grow up. I still love playing video games and Legos and Risk.

But at the same time, I am a grown up, and I present myself as such. I think this is where we are as a generation.

We’re on the cusp of adulthood, but not quite ready to take the plunge.

At the end of my freshman year my good friend Alisa said something that has stuck with me since.

She said, “I’m 19, I can’t just party all summer, I need to get a job, I need to work. I’m not a kid anymore.”

Her voice almost quivered when she said it, because it seemed to be an affirmation of a feared conclusion. We couldn’t stop trying to grow up; we had already gotten there.

At some point, if you haven’t happened already, you’re going to grow up. You’ll be with someone, you’ll write a paper, get a tattoo, get drunk and throw up on everything, and you’ll realize it.

And there’s not much we can do about it. It’s pretty permanent.

We’re going to have to deal with climate change, the fiscal crisis, oil shortages and here we are afraid to jump into the water first. Sometimes it just makes me worry, because I’m just another body huddled on the side of the pool waiting.

But it’s okay. Because we’re growing up. We’re at the time in our lives where everything is open to us. We just have to do it.

The pool is warm, life is wonderful. Childhood was the tutorial, each year another step towards who we were going to be.

We were waiting all this time to get older, now that we are, we have one final step to take.

We need to accept it.



Augustus Stahl can be contacted at

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