When I was a kid, I wanted so much to grow up. I imagined there are some special privileges reserved for the adults. I wanted to be in campus like my auntie some day and I could only be when I grew up. My mum insisted I wasn’t to go to any place without an adult and it sucked. I wanted to grow up so that I can be allowed to travel on my own. I really admired the adult life!
Years passed and here I am. An adult now. You’d expect that am now happy to be a grown up. I am, but I have a confession. Growing up is scary. One Mary Muriithi would tell you growing up is a trap. You were only told of the good side about growing up, yet there’s a dark side of it.
You think growing up is scary? Growing up into adulthood as a firstborn is scarier. Ask me and I’ll tell you. Suddenly your parents start calling to just have you remind them when you are finishing school. On Sunday I had a conversation with my mum on phone and she said, “Twetereire next year January ekinye urikangie shukuru utwike jui hure.” (We are eagerly waiting for your last semester next year so that you finish school and be on your own) Isn’t that a scary thing?
When I was a kid my mum fought all my battles and made all my decisions. In the recent past I’ve had major decisions to make and it was scary. I wished there was someone to make those decisions for me. So that they would also help me endure if any negative repercussions followed. As for the battles, it was great having my mum go talk to another kid’s mother if the kid had beaten me or insulted me. She’d not stand seeing her daughter getting bullied. But now I have to handle insults, negative comments and gossip that come my way. No matter how hurting it is I have to learn how to deal with it and move on. Sometimes I don’t even mention a thing to my parents. Growing up calls for courage to deal with it!
The issue about friends and growing up is a tricky one. As your life takes shape you realize that there are friendships you need to keep off. You can’t go tell a friend, “Hey! I just realized we are not meant to be and so I’ll be keeping off.” It would be absurd. So you silently pull away. Then questions of why you have gone MIA (missing in action) come flying at you and you don’t know exactly what to say. You can’t tell them on their face that you don’t think that’s the direction you want your life to take. So you keep quiet and you are assumed to be a snob.
Being a grown up in her fourth year means I have to answer the question of whether am seeing someone, quite often. You meet people and before your friendship hits the road you’ve already been asked whether you are in a relationship, if no why and when you plan to get into one. It is scary when you are expected to be heading towards marriage and in your head you are thinking of kidu five years from now.
Right now, as a grown up, I have to think of ways of boosting my pockets. My parents can’t foot all my bills. There is a wedding here to attend, an event attire there to buy, a trip to a friend’s home… There’s so much that I couldn’t tell my parents to fund. It’s the hassle of growing up!
I can’t be selfish anymore. I have to think of my siblings almost always. I have to think of what to take to them when going home for holidays. I have to plan to go home whenever they are on midterm or on holidays. I also have to figure out where to get some small pocket money for them. See how growing up is a task?
Growing up is full of surprises. You are never very sure about the course your life takes. One time you think you want to be a teacher and the other you are thinking writing is better. At one point you have so many friends and on the other there’s barely a trustworthy friend. There’s so much uncertainty yet you want to have it all figured out. You are asked where you want to be five years from now and you have no clue. Then you are termed as one who is not focused. There’s so much to think about as an adult, you end up preferring to sleep than think.
But growing up is also awesome. It has a lot of good packaged in. Acquiring a sense of responsibility is quite fulfilling. Learning how to be an independent individual is not a bad thing. Only that the processes can be scary. Am happy to have grown up. As for what the future holds, am like this kid who places their hands on their face and plays a game with you, blocking their hands from seeing you and at the same time slowly removing them to see you. I so badly want to see what lies ahead. At the same time I don’t want to see it. So I keep blocking my sight and at the same time taking off my hands to see.