Age Matters: What I Learned Growing Up

Remember being 6 and wishing life would hurry up? How about being in fourth grade and admiring all cool high school kids? Or better yet, do you remember being in high school, crying on your sorry ass and mumbling “someday, someday I’ll have my revenge?”

I sometimes wonder what made me think that becoming an office monkey in my twenties would be better than being a snotty kid in gradeschool or a high school pariah.

Being a kid affords us one great thing: it is a time to hope for great things. The word disillusionment was something we didn’t know at that time…I don’t think we could have spelled it either.

Am not so much disillusioned as disappointed in myself. Though I have done particularly well, I’m not sure my six year old (or even 16 year old) self would approve of my current 23 self. (Or, my sixteen year old self might be surprised to hear that the world did not end on that fateful night in 2002 when I thought it would.)

Here are five glaring differences between my young self and my present self:

1. I used to equate hanging around the family house with free food, fun and laughter.

Today, however I equate hanging round my family for too long to having a stress-induced hemmorage. Growing up and deviating from your family’s religious and political beliefs can be difficult. Moreso, if those particular beliefs clash.

2. As a kid, I believed I could become a rocket scientist.

Then I went to a crummy science high school that shattered all my faith in the Philippine education systems’ capacity to breed great minds (or retain great teachers, for that matter).

3. At 16 years old; I used to have my own brand of fiery optimism. I’d never let anyone get in my way even if I was insecure with 120 pound, four foot nine self.

30 less pounds later and no inches added; I still am optimistic. But if anything, I think I’ve become more confident, feistier and a bit more caustic. I’ve become more rigid, believing that things “should just be so or not at all”. I think that my twenties brought out my hidden type A personality.

4. At 18 years old, I had no aspirations. I had no life plans.

Today, I have detailed schedules and a manageable life plan. It always surprises me when I realize how “on track” my life is.

5. When I was younger, I had faith in people. I believed that the government was good and that public service was a priority for politicians.

Today, I pay my taxes and grumble. If anything, I’ve gone from hopeful to critical to cynical in one decade. And while I’d still like to believe that there is hope for this country; Filipino politics is simply a hopeless cause nowadays.

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Side note: I discovered the “Let’s be logical here”, breathe in, breathe out and steady your nerves combo when I began working for corporations. Today, rather than blow my top publicly and be done with it; I nurse my seething hatred till I finally find a loophole to get back at whoever pissed me off/ On that note; I’m not as forgiving as I was ten years ago.