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Growing Up

by GURTEJ KAUR CHEEMA

 

 

Being a kid was the best.

The insane ability to just ask for something and have it available, graciously provided by our loving and caring parents, of course.

I miss the innocence.

My biggest worry was probably what dress I would get to wear to school each morning - dressing myself was quite the task when the moment I would frolic into the kitchen in last years fairy-Halloween costume, my mother would be sending me back up to change into something less animated.

Nothing mattered whenever there was a smile spread across my face. My father constantly jokes about shrinking me back to the size where I barely fit into the crevice of his elbow stretching across his forearm. Yep, Papa, those were definitely the good days.

I say this, as if I am far along in years, when actually, I am just shy of my senior year of high school. I still feel though that I have experienced many opportunities of growth. I try to pinpoint the moment I felt like a "grown-up" and all I end up recalling are the several rites of passages I have partaken in.

Eighth grade graduation.

Sweet Sixteen's.

Sports team initiations.

And several other occurrences have each shaped me and forced me to mature as a person; but I am not ready to consider myself an adult, just yet. Looking back on the last couple of years of my life, I realized that with growing up come responsibilities and preoccupations I would never have imagined as a child.

My daily dose of the Disney Channel in middle school instilled in me the mentality that being a "teenager" would simply involve dealing with zits and relationships. I began to learn as I progressed into my young adult life that the television does not necessarily prepare you for what is really coming your way.

I witnessed my dearest friends give into horrific temptations as they tampered with alcohol and drugs; all the while realizing that growing up was much more than I had bargained for. I knew how easy it was to fall into such traps, and that caused me to grow up fast and make smart decisions.

I can look back on every memory I have that tested my conscience and maturity, but I have discovered that the values and appreciations I had as a child are what have shaped me from a girl into a young woman. In order to be an adult, I have to think like a kid sometimes!

A tad contradicting ... but let me explain:

As children, we dream and fantasize routinely. Our imagination is our best friend. My most successful method of accomplishing something is through imagination. When I am practicing hockey, I visualize my arms swinging down, snapping my wrists, allowing the stick to tap the shining ball straight into the goal. Classic power shot. If I did not see myself do this in my mind, how would I have been able to make myself accomplish it in reality?

Now, I also I imagine myself living in a world of smiles. I am a firm believer in chardi kalaa, and it is so easy to smile. It does not cost anything to treat someone with a flash of your pearly whites, think about how good it is for your teeth to get a little sunshine!

Remembering this philosophy has allowed me to get a lot further than pouting my way there.

So, smile.

Be a kid.

It can make you an even better adult.

 

[17-year old Gurtej lives in California, U.S.A.]

July 8, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Inni Kaur  (Fairfield, CT, U.S.A.), July 08, 2010, 6:08 AM.

Ah! And the child shall lead. Platinum graces me, yet my husband accuses me of being 'a child.' Pearls of wisdom, beautifully expressed. Thank you.

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