When I was a child, I remembered how my family kept me at home to be safe. I thought it was really the reality of life: staying inside the house, reading books, drawing childish things, playing with toys, eating delicious foods, sleeping, taking a bath, then starting a new day reading books again, and so on. Those were wonderful childhood memories! But, they just came once in life.
When I grew up, I learned to go out and explore: I witnessed and lived with the reality of life and realized that it wasn’t as wonderful as I had experienced: There were a lot of people suffering, and most people were striving hard to survive.
When I was a child, my family kept me safe; but now I choose to be in danger. When I was a child, my family gave me wonderful things; but now, I choose to have awful things. When I was a child, my family provided the best things; but now, I choose to have the least that I deserve; and when I was a child, my family let me believe in a life of paradise and fairy tales; but now, I choose to live in reality rather than dreams, reality rather than happy endings.
As I walked on my journey, I learned that growing up is not about aging: Growing up is about how a person grows from the inside out. I choose to be the least so I could see the best that I have; I settled to be thought foolish and stupid so I could strive harder to be the best version of me; I choose to be wrong because I’m not afraid to be wrong. Because after all, I am not perfect.
I choose to stay quiet but thinking and analyzing things rather than bragging about all that I know. I choose to be intimate with the few but true, rather than to settle for the many but fake people.
I think that the best way of growing up is to keep in mind that everything I once had only comes once, while it still lasts, it has to be shared with kindness and a pure heart. Because after all, it’s not about how many people changed for you, but how few of them accepted themselves as them. It’s not about learning to be as high as the peak but on how you bend to reach out to the weak and help them to get up.
So, growing up? It’s not just about aging. It’s about how a person, as simple as you are, has touched many hearts in simple ways, has taught many minds in humbleness, has made many lives better because of a simple statement: you are wonderfully made… So be happy that you’ve been given the chance to live. Many people would have died to be in your shoes, so whoever you are and whatever you’ll become, be proud of yourself and always thank god.”
‘Rhee Jean, author of ‘Growing Up and Early Childhood Memories’ is in her senior year studying Bachelor of Arts major in Education at University of Makati.’
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