The Contradictions of Growing up

 I am sick and tired of all the inaccurate presumptions about a person just because they may be 5, 10, heck, 15+ years younger than someone! I am exhausted by the relentless, unspoken expectations to somehow prove my worth in a conversation and prove I have what it takes to run with the ‘big dogs’. They say that teenagers are cruel but, adults, have you ever stepped back for just one moment to consider the actions of yourself? Entertain the idea for one measly second that, hey, maybe this kid isn’t as clueless as I have somehow assumed without any previous knowledge of their actual intelligence. You want to push my buttons? You want me to really get fired up? Call me “kid”. Call me “little”. I dare you. You see, although so many automatically conclude the agility and comprehension levels of a younger person, often times they are down right wrong. I am not saying that 99.9% of all teenagers or people of younger age are as grounded and engaged as others, but I guarantee there are some of them still out there. I am one of those people.
“Do you know what you want to do?”, “Where do you want to go?”, “This is, possibly, the most important decision of your life.” These are all questions and phrases I have heard, a number of times, coming to the finish line of my High School years. Often times, as we enter our Sophomore year, graduation becomes the point of focus, the grand finish line, and college becomes the gold medal. While I do not agree that college is equivalent to indefinite success, the disagreement I will be speaking of today is that of which our guardians and people we look up to begin to do as we start considering where we might want to head in life. I am sure you have all experienced something similar, adult or youth. The instance I am referring to is the recurrently forceful ‘advisement’ of the people around us. I do not believe that a majority of people do this consciously, but it does, unfortunately, occur quite regularly, as we enter the age of career/college consideration. While we attemptedly share our ideas of what we might, possibly, want to do, the walls begin rising and, let me tell you, it is an extremely challenging and delicate situation to find yourself out of. Instead of actual advisement and suggestion, the “It pays well” and “I really think this would be better”s arise. At first acknowledgement it is just a simple annoyance, but I regret to inform you, this will not be the last of their persuasions. You may find yourself cornered, very quickly, in the endless “are you sure you don’t want to” and “how about”s that follow the research that college decisions entail. I am not saying these will never come to an end, but I am also not saying that when you find an option you truly are excited about, your counterpart will be just as thrilled. I have found myself in this exact position, many a times. It requires a deep and patient breath, followed by an explanation that although you may not know the exacts of your desires for the future, you do not want to be nailed down to something that will make you miserable. Nor do you want to settle for something, just for the financial aspect. I think the people in our lives get wrapped up in their affection for their child, student, or friend and forget that, although their life experience is very much appreciated, this is their life to live and making them feel guilty for declining the slightly- or severely, in some cases- forceful suggestions, does not contribute to the advancement of the person they are speaking to’s future. 
This one goes beyond me in the possible rationalizations anyone could have for expressing the following regarding love, feelings, and/or romantics. Every television show I watch, at least one of the conversations I have with my adult acquaintances/ friends, seemingly every parent’s belief, is- at least at one point or another- that most people under the age of 18, are just too young to comprehend the extremely complex idea of love and meaningful relationships. While I find myself agreeing with some, regarding certain teenagers who only want a companion for appearances or “fun”, I do not believe that there is an indefinite age that all come to, to really get it. Now, I am not saying at age 13 you should be off skipping through a wildflower meadow with ‘your love’. HECK NO! What I am saying, however, is that if at age 13 you have developing feelings for a certain someone, maybe instead of shutting those down and bombarding your children and students with the “You’re too young!” speeches, you should allow them to figure out- with guidance and discussion of what feelings should really mean to them, of course- what exactly is going on in their heart. I have seen time and time again, people who, at all costs, push their children’s development away and, in turn, cause them to want to rebel even more, possibly causing a formation of a ‘relationship’ that is doomed and not very meaningful at all. Even as I am moving into college age, even as I have proven time and time again that I am educated, even as I have discussed my concerns and legitimate standards I have for a future spouse, I still get the occasional, “Well… You’re still young” blah, blah blah, spiel. Being young does not eliminate romantic feelings from developing, being young does not stop loneliness, being young does not prevent me from understanding what love should really look like, and being young does not disable me from having a healthy relationship. Maybe, at this very second I am not prepared for marriage, maybe a person I am interested in won’t be “the one”, but that does not mean I should not grow with someone and maybe figure out, hey, this is a person I might definitely want to spend the rest of my life with. Stop over exasperating this idea that you have to be fully developed to be in a relationship. We all have plenty of maturing to do, young or old.
Let’s talk opinions. Everyone’s got one and no matter where you stand politically, religiously, or morally, your opinion is your own. We often group into parties of individuals who share similar beliefs as us, but fact of the matter is, we are not all going to hold everything as true that the next person does. We can discuss, compare, and appreciate one another’s opinions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we agree. Not agreeing is human nature and part of life. Invalidating someone’s feelings or opinion is another thing, however. This, unfortunately, has happened to me too many times to count as I have grown up. It has been a constant, uphill battle attempting to insert my opinion- with explanation, mind you- without being smugly brushed off and looked down upon, as if I had no idea. Maybe I don’t. Maybe some things I have thoroughly researched and believed have been wrong or changed over the years, but who is to tell me I couldn’t have that opinion, for the time being. By all means, share yours and explain to me how it makes sense in a far more deep and reliable manner. Do not however tell me I am “wrong” in believing the way I do, simply because I am a “child”. This “child” may not have every part of her life figured out to the enth degree, but neither do you. So instead of the insulting superiority, some of you seem to have, how about some compassion? A little indulgence, even. You may realize very quickly that, despite me not having a bachelor’s degree or adult ID, I am far more capable and equipped for a conversation of substance, than you may think.
So, what does all of this mean? I’ll tell you exactly what all of this jabbering means. What this means is for the love of all that is holy and right in this world, stop making a judgement about someone based purely on the surface and just listen for five minutes. Rather than assuming that someone is a complete inexperienced fool, just because their age does not begin with a 2, open your eyes wide enough to see that the world is not black and white. The world is not young and old. We are not divided into two groups, simply because of a number and that goes for the younger population looking up, as well. I strongly believe that if people would simply branch out beyond their comfort zone or ‘usual’, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn you have a lot more in common with the face next to you, than you previously believed. Instead of being the hypocrite that cried, “They don’t know what they’re talking about!” How about giving someone the simple benefit of the doubt and just, taking your own advice?

Although I stand by everything that I wrote about in this article, I do want to elaborate on one thing. This was not, in any way, supposed to come off like an attack on certain opinions you may have of certain persons or your age rules when it comes to your children entering the dating world, or anything like that. By all means, live your life the way you want to and parent your children by giving them the healthiest life they can have by how you see fit. However, I do want each and every person and parent to reconsider how they formed their prior age notions and just decide through observation rather than assumption.

Have you ever applied a stereotype to a person before meeting them? How do you feel about my personal opinion and advice I expressed? How have you been proved wrong by assuming before knowing in the past? I would love to hear your responses below! Apologies for the inconsistent posting, as of late, and I will be working hard to stay on publishing task. : ) See you next time!


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