Growing Up is Hard

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Growing up is hard. I don’t mean the legal age mark or even the managing your own life part… I mean the realizing and separating yourself from your past and the people that shaped you. It’s hard. Don’t get me wrong, working and paying your bills is hard work, especially when paired with the irregularity of life… but that part feels worth the emotional freedom.

It’s the separation. It’s hard enough separating from caregivers, it’s even harder when you grow up. People grow up at so many different ages… most seem to grow up in their teenage years, recognizing responsibilities and realizing that no one can control what they do. It’s realizing that you do not have to be afraid to be yourself.

I didn’t grow up for a long time because growing up, I had a lot to lose. The risk was so big. So many people around me would tell me that I needed to stand up for myself and put my foot down, but really… now I recognize that it was just a specific way of saying I had to grow up. We all do at some point. Some people don’t, however. Growing up is hard and not all of us are okay with facing hard things. Sometimes, it’s just easier to accept what’s happening and move on…

Standing up against a current is difficult, of course, but if you stand long enough, you learn to change the flow of the water. Before you know it, with practice, you control the current. Or maybe you don’t feel its pressure anymore.

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Life is Full of Surprises

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Life is full of surprises. I don’t know if I would compare it to a box of chocolates given that the boxes I’ve seen usually have pictures and descriptions of the chocolates inside. There isn’t really something I would find worthy of comparing life to. It is a very unpredictable roller coaster. That’s the closest I can get. It makes you want to scream, it can put a pit in your stomach, and it can make you terrified of going on, but it can also be addicting and make you wanna keep it up.

Life isn’t a constant moving roller coaster though. For some people, it stops in the middle of a plateau and takes a while to even move. For others, it’s the biggest roller coaster in the world that makes you scream not because you want to, but because you have to or you might throw up.

Some people, like myself, aren’t the biggest fans of unpredictability. I’m fine with the roller coaster as long as I can see when it’s going to spike, turn, go upside down and all that stuff. I can adapt; I’ve been doing that my entire life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the desire to pick what kind of roller coaster I’m riding.

There’s a lack of certainty in life that makes me often feel on edge. What’s going to happen tomorrow? What if it’s the rainy day you’re still only beginning to prepare for? What if life throws you a punch you weren’t yet ready to deal with? Even the people around you aren’t certain. Anything can happen and you never know what your last words to them will be. They aren’t permanent in your life and that’s… terrifying. Even if you get married and agree to spend the rest of your life with someone… what about accidents? Assuming it all goes well, there’s still accidents, health concerns, financial instability… how can you ever prepare or not feel breathless when life throws you a curve ball when you weren’t prepared for it?

You can’t prepare. That’s the thing about life. Even if you’re trying to prepare for it, often times things will happen to make it even harder. Life wasn’t made to be stagnant. We have to appreciate the Air we breathe and the things we feel because you don’t know how long any of that will last. You don’t know anything for sure, and that’s terrifying…

If I had to be terrified though, at least I can be terrified with the certainty that it’s never going to get easier, just a better story to tell. No one enjoys a boring story, right?

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Let Them Go

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There is something oddly satisfying about the need to break ties. I have avoided burning bridges for as long as I can remember because I used to truly believe that you need to be there for someone at their worst if you want to deserve them at their best. The truth is, I still stand by this. However, this doesn’t mean I will remain at their side when it proves detrimental to my health or when, for some reason, I’m not enough.

I can count to a number higher than one where I have done my best to support someone, listen to them, defend them, and cherish them, only to be spoken of behind my back—and not with pleasant words. It comes to that time that I wonder: If all I did was support them and do my best to be a friend… and this happened… then do they really deserve my friendship?

I’ve learned that it’s important to have standards in your relationships, not only romantic, but in your family and friends too. Don’t let people take advantage of you. Don’t let people disrespect you. Don’t let people put you down. It’s okay to have fights and misunderstandings, as long as you remain true to your standards.

When someone doesn’t meet your standards, you have two choices: you leave or you lower your standards. For years, I went with the latter option. I lowered my standards into the ground so I could remain with the people I cared about. I came up with excuses for them, defended their actions, and forgave them mistake after mistake after mistake. There came a point where I realized… I deserve better.

So now, when I come across a relationship that I know won’t last because they are falling below my standards, I am not afraid. They move on too. Very few times am I actually missed.

There is, however, nothing more satisfying than leaving someone behind knowing you didn’t necessarily leave them alone. They will be okay without me.

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Temptation of a Burnt Bridge

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I’ve been looking down at the remains of a bridge I burnt,
Wondering how bad the wounds I left had hurt.
I pondered the materials needed if I wanted to fix it,
But then I remembered there was I reason I burnt it.
There’s another island with bridges of its own,
And I’m well aware, to this day it’s burned one,
So it’s still connected to the island you stay,
But despite this connection, I prefer to stay away.

I burnt that bridge mostly because of you,
Given that you didn’t want to cross too.
I remember crossing the bridge whenever I had time,
But it seemed it wasn’t as often as you’d like.
So the bridge was burned because it wasn’t used,
It was only there to accumulate mold and mildew.

I admit to the fact that I don’t know everything,
But you should know the sarcastic jokes sting.
However, in a way they aren’t entirely lies,
I’ve started taking care of myself, to the world’s surprise.
And without much more thought, the temptation was no more,
Mostly because I have much bigger things in store.

For despite my empathy of your island’s pain,
The words you speak are not said in vain.
They act as a pesticide, keeping pests away,
Since that’s what I seem to be, on my island I’ll stay.
I am no longer that selfless fool,
Taking away from myself and used as a tool.
I am a tree growing big and strong,
I am the lyrics to my island’s song.

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Camp Lee

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Pine trees high
And chilly winter snow
A cold, gentle breeze,
Where leaders grow.

Prints in the dirt
And varieties of good
All cabins made
From the same dark wood.

Bundled up warm
And hiding from cold
Soon to be leaders
Learning to be bold.

From Gold to Orange
And Green to Blue
They’ve all learned
To not judge you.

The recreational hall
Brings about tranquility
Even when new leaders
Show their vulnerability.

Up the mountain side
They went in the night
Only to be met with a
Wonderful starry sight.

A memorable weekend,
This they all agree
Never to be forgotten
Were the days at Camp Lee.

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