[Bigger Shoes to Fill]
By: Sadhika NANDA (Hall 11)
Image: WU Zhenli, Lily (Jockey Club Harmony Hal)
“Oh my god! I can’t believe you’re not crawling anymore. They grow up so fast!” cried Aunt Alma as she greeted me. Certain that I shouldn’t be crawling at 13, I silently disagreed and thought to myself that I wasn’t growing fast enough. All of my friends had outgrown their new shoes while I was still wearing the ones I bought when I was 11. But before I knew it, my worries reshaped themselves, becoming an unexpected joy: I was now growing too fast. Three shoe sizes in a year and a voice transformation later, I stood 6 feet tall, with tiny bits of hair on my chin.
My mother still insisted that I buy my clothes at the kids section; I suppose she thought I was Peter Pan—the man who would forever remain a boy. To be fair however, I thought I was Peter Pan too, but in a bad way. For I awaited the dawn of adulthood like a child awaits recess break. But when it came- and it hit me like a hailstorm when it did- it was far from what I imagined. It was bittersweet, to say the very least. Undeniably, I thought it would taste a lot sweeter, primarily because I could eat all the candy I wanted, as an adult.
But isn’t this why it is said that youth is wasted on the young? For one realises its value only when one is no longer young. With that being said, I don’t suppose it’s ever too late to have such an epiphany. Simply because youth is a work of art, the kind of art that can be 4 or 40 years old.
Growing up, I have understood, is more about starting to become an adult as opposed to seizing to become a child. We may have to surrender our days of carefree, effortless existence in exchange for days of prolonged worry and ceaseless responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy cotton candy or chasing butterflies. Youth remains so long as we want it to. Growing up simply forces it to mature.