The Adolescent Arms Race

Being young is scary. Sometimes it feels like the world is turning on without you; it feels like you can’t catch up. The people who (choose to) remember middle school know this feeling all too well. It’s the feeling of losing the Adolescent Arms Race.

Allow me to explain some of the awkward coming of age ordeals when I was younger, which included:

  • Begging my mother to teach me to shave my legs when I was eleven

  • Getting made fun of by my friends for refusing to say swear words at twelve

  • Not catching the weird and immature euphemisms for sex that people would use (particularly when talking about watching television shows that they were forbidden to watch at thirteen)

Being young is uncomfortable, confusing, fickle, and sometimes even gross. When you’re in the midst of it, it seems like a no-brainer to try to shed your youth by shaving, not giving a f*ck, and watching Game of Thrones. However, now at twenty, I can honestly say that shaving my legs, yelling expletives in traffic, and watching edgy television has done nothing to make feel less young. Personally, I just feel like myself--albeit myself doing silly, time consuming things, but still myself.

This is because the definition of being young is ever changing and not defined by quirky milestones of yesteryear.

Since middle school, there’s always been something to make me feel young again. Milestones and incidents that left me feeling naive, confused, curious, bewildered, or just funny. Despite all of the awful stories this post could be making you recall, thus far, youth is a blessing. Being young is far from a bad thing.

Not only that, but being young doesn’t stop just because you’ve taken 16, 18, 20, 25, or even 30 trips around the sun. As I mentioned for myself, life hasn’t stopped making me feel young. Perhaps this is simply because I am young, barely out of my teens. However, I am willing to bet that no matter your age, life--or fate,the universe, or God--is going to drop you into a situation or mindset where you feel brand new to the world.

Adult things can make people feel young all the time. Imagine the feelings of the following:

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  • Stepping into the breakroom of your new of first job, to see all your new coworkers

  • Watching a tv show so outrageous you laugh until your gut hurts, or get intensely red in the face not knowing whether to be offended or amused.

  • Dragging your name across the sign up sheet at your first open mic event-- ;)

If I’m not making sense with the specifics, chances are you still can recall recent experiences that made you scared, confused, curious, challenged, or even inspired.

Even through all of the trials and tribulations, I love feeling young. Youth is a mode for discovery. Being young means learning what to do with our passion, suffering, and fury. We find our worth through learning about our voice and power. Nobody can take that away from you. Not now, not ever. So, with whatever life throws at you (and for young people it’s a lot) you’re entitled to feel righteously angry, indescribably sad, hopelessly in love, or infinitely joyous. Whatever you feel, you should never be ashamed of feeling young. Embrace uncharted territory and ride the wave before you’re wise.

While you’re at it, create something.

Maria NavolioComment