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Over this past year, I have realized a lot of things. The natural progression of growing up includes levels of maturing and changing, which is completely natural. As you get older, your priorities and perspectives begin changing and some things become a lot clearer. As I enter my 20s, I understand that I can now make my own choices, whether it be about friends, about boys, even about where to eat. I no longer have my parents holding my hand and making decisions for me. That seems to just be a given. However, as I am taking this step in life I am starting to notice an extra thought cross my mind whenever I make these decisions. Is there a part of me that is still a child? Or a part of me that is still too innocent and naive to take on some of these things? I seem to have a foot in both worlds and am unable to fully throw myself into adulthood. Last year I turned 20, for some reason on that day I suffered from a lot of anxiety. At the time, there was not a reason in the world for me to be anxious but out of the blue, I started developing some anxiety and depression where I hadn't experienced that before. As the year comes full circle, I am slowly starting to realize what my subconscious was trying to make me aware of. As I hit the milestone of entering my 20s, I was getting ready to make the leap into adulthood, leaving my childhood behind. This, to me, is a scary feeling, something about the thought of that makes my stomach fill with butterflies and makes me somewhat emotional. I think when you are a child there is a spirit in you, where you believe in magic, and that everything will work out. You also have a relationship with your parents that lacks complication and stress. You are a free spirit as a child, and you are also further away from the inevitable idea that we will all die some day. I think I struggle with this jump because I am a daddy's girl, and for some reason I have it in my head that making this jump will mean that title will no longer be mine because I'm getting older. I often find myself even at my age now questioning my decisions, keeping in the back of my mind if I am old enough to make these choices. I find it interesting how our brains work. How we can feel so certain of something but so doubtful at the same time. If I make a decision to partake in a sexual experience, thoughts run through my mind "Am I too young for this?" "Would my parents be disappointed?" "Does this mean I am impure?" All these questions because the part of my brain that remains in my childhood is implying that I need permission because, for the first 18 years of my life, I have needed it. Making the switch from running through life with your parents there to catch you to now making sure you walk because if you fall that's on you is a scary and confusing transition. I sometimes feel alone in this thought, like maybe I am the only one having a hard time with such a natural transition. When in reality we all go through this at some point, this transition can be confusing, and scary, and altogether quite taxing on our brains and our emotional state. Trying to figure out which "label of life" to identify with can come with a whole mix of emotions that no one prepared us for. When we are kids, all we want to do is grow up, and be an adult, and take on whatever our adult lives have to offer us, without realizing that it is a very scary step to take and that there is so much more to it than just being able to drive a car or go to a movie by yourself. It involves real stress and responsibility. It involves planning for the future, making decisions that will take you down certain pathways in life and ensuring that they are the right ones. I think the biggest realization too is that you're not the only one getting older. Realizing your parents and grandparents are progressing in age as well can be a scary thought. Although they have lived a much longer life than you, they are all you have ever had. The people around you growing up whether they are blood or not have played a huge part if not the biggest part in your growth and comfort in life, they are your support system and your hug when you need one. So having the realization that those important people are getting closer to the day that they are not here anymore plays a huge part in the anxiety of getting older. I am still learning and trying to cope with the stress of such a big step, and will hopefully develop the tools and skills to go through this process with my best foot forward. I think we need to learn to accept the things we cannot change and make sure that we make every day count and make sure we tell the people we love that we love them. As far as making the jump to our adult lives, we need to realize that our past is now behind us, to appreciate the memories and times we had with those we had them with, and learn to look forward to making new memories with new people who will come into our lives in the future. The one thing I will finish with is to make sure you don't hold yourself from moving forward because you are scared to leave what is behind you. There is a reason it is behind you. Never forget it, but learn to appreciate it for what it was and remain hopeful to appreciate all of the experiences that are to come.