Times Have Changed

“Mom! Hurry up and do my hair! We need to go!” I complained.
My mother quickly finished packing her lunch, throwing in the remaining contents.
I felt the brush glide through my hair, touching my scalp in every stroke.
She gathered my hair and pulled it up in its regular ponytail.
I jumped off the chair, threw my backpack over my shoulder, grabbed my lunch bag. I velcroed my shoes and ran out the door.
I wanted to get to school early to play dodge ball with the big kids.
They were so intriguing, with their DC shoes, Volcom backpacks, and Gameboy advances.
I wanted to be just as cool as them, but in their eyes I was just a seven-year-old girl.

I dashed to my classroom and dropped off my bag. I ran as quickly as possible to the field.
Just in time–the game was about to start.
I joined some of my guy friends so they could protect me from the big kids. My adrenaline was rushing, my heart began to beat fast, and I found myself smiling. We played for 40 minutes before the school bell interrupted our fun.

Throughout the whole day I kept thinking about lunchtime.
The big kids invited us to sit with them during lunch! My mind couldn’t stop racing. “How cool is this?” “Remember to be cool,"I kept telling myself."Don’t be a dork and blow it.” My anticipation for that bell grew stronger and stronger. When it finally rang I almost leaped out of my seat. “The bell! Finally!” I said to myself. I ran out the door with my two best friends. Following as fast as I could behind them.
They were taller than me, their strides longer than mine. We got in line right behind the big kids.

I admired everything about them. The girls wearing shorts that fitted their every curve, their cool tops from Macys, their necklaces with half a heart saying “best” or “friend.” I made a mental note to get that for my best friend and me. The girls had the coolest shoes ever.
Some had Converse, some had DC shoes, and some cute Roxy slippers.
I was so envious. I wanted to look just like them.
They guys looked too cool. I couldn’t believe I was this close to them.
They were celebrities in my eyes.
They wore Quicksilver shirts with mesh shorts or board shorts.
Some of them had silver or gold chains around their necks.
They hair was perfect. Not a hair out of place.
They even smelled amazing. I swear they were wearing a love spell of some sort. I was head over heels for all of them, but I had to remain cool, calm, and collected.

We all got out our lunches and walked to over to the table in the back right corner–the big kids' table. As I walked by all my other classmates with my head held high I felt their envious glares. I felt like the Queen of the school,The only young girl invited to sit with the older kids.
We sat down at the table and they began to talk.

“Man. Mr. Koybayashi gave us so much homework tonight!” one kid complained. Eric, the cutest guy in the school replied,
“I know, right? My mom is already mad about my grades. I can’t keep up with all this homework and play football. It’s too much.”
Kayla, the prettiest and most popular girl suggested,
“Hey! I have an idea. Let’s all go to Kahala Mall and see a movie tomorrow. Forget about the homework. We need to have some fun. Who’s in?”
Most said they were definitely down for that.
“WOW!” I thought,
“They can go to the mall by themselves? Without parents? That’s so cool!”
Richard sighed, “I’d love to go, guys, but I’m stuck watching my baby sister, doing chores, and getting my grades up in math. If not, my parents are going to kill me.
They want me to get into Punahou next year. There goes my social life.”
“Wow. Do you have to do that every weekend?” I asked,
Surprised that I actually opened my mouth to talk.
“Yeah. Basically. School is the only place where I can have fun and be free anymore,” Richard replied.
“I thought you guys have all these privileges now?” I said.
Eric interrupted, “’Course we do. We are living the high life.
Just some of us, like Richard, aren’t as fortunate as others.
We can stay up till 10. Go to the mall by ourselves.
See PG-13 movies, and have sleepovers as much as we want.”
“Wow," I exclaimed, "That sounds awesome!”
“Trust me Rose, it doesn’t always work out that way,” Richard mumbled.
I didn’t really understand what Richard was complaining about.
Being older sounded so much better than being a little kid.

That was years ago.

I’m almost 18 years old now.
The other day I was thinking back to what Richard told me when I was in first grade. He was right.
Being older requires responsibilities along with privileges.
The pressure to do well on a test eats you alive.
Sleepless nights staying up trying to finish homework you don’t understand. Shocking test scores you get back that punch you in your stomach. Those nights when you cry yourself to sleep because you and your boyfriend had a fight. Being older is complicated, stressful, nerve-racking. It’s a constant fight between your mind and your heart.
Between wanting to be free and doing what’s right.
Between wanting a teenager's reckless fun and using your commonsense.
The stress to get into college hits you head on,
to keep up your grades, play sports, get sleep,
And still have time for your friends.
Life is so much more complicated than it ever was before,
And it just gets worse.

Being a kid was the best time of my life.
I had homework maybe three times a week and it was fun.
I had recess, I had snack time, and I had naptime.
And all I wanted to do was grow up? Was I insane? I must have been.

Kids want to grow up faster than anything else in this world,
When what they need to do is enjoy being a kid because before you know it,
You’ll be exactly where I am right now,
reminiscing about the good old days and
how you’d do anything to get them back.
Your childhood is a period in your life that you will never forget.
It’s the start of your collection of memories,
The stepping-stones of your life,
And the carefree world you once inhabited.

So, to all you kids out there: “Enjoy your freedom now.
Laugh too much, smile til your cheeks hurt, make new friends,
Enjoy your life, set your spirit free, and enjoy your childhood.”

Talk story

  1. sportgurl1993 says:

    Hi, yes, I didn't know if it was against the rules, since this is my first time entering. Please and thank you!

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