My sister has three kids and I dearly love all three of them. However, for whatever reason, Laura and I have a bond that goes above and beyond the call of aunt and niece relationships. We're friends, confidants, girlfriends, family. She talks to me a lot. Sometimes she just talks .. a lot! Laura is one of the most refreshingly honest and direct people I know. A trait that I know she will have to hone and refine for it to serve as well as it might in her adulthood.
Laura wrote about the plight of being 18. In her essay I read about the excitement of breaking out and yet the really clear understanding and fear, even, of the responsibility inherent in that new found freedom. She talks about failure. I think I read between the lines when she writes that there are things she knows she is not cut out to do - and yet when her and I have those conversations - I'm all about "Yes. you can do anything" - and her response is clear now, "No, Aunty, the truth is I can not do anything I want". She is harsh with her self to be sure, but she takes responsibility for herself, her choices, her actions. She writes about the great malaise I see in my clients of her age, this lacking of a passion, a fire, a conviction about knowing what to do, what to grow into. My heart aches for her. She talks about love, at 18, and how, while it's sweet and wonderful, it's not something that ought to hold someone back. She talks about transitions - about transitions people! - she recognizes herself on the precipice of adulthood, of great change, of a letting go of childhood, even though she is clear that at this moment, she will cling to whatever vestiges there are of it... she is so poignant about that.
Some pieces of her work:
The worst part of this transition is the numerous changes in life, and you never really know where the change will take place first.
Sometimes, yea the truth hurts, but at least it is the truth. It is something you need to know, and need to take into effect. You need to realize life is a bitch, the younger the better. Don't rush growing up either, and definitely do not let your parents rush you into growing up.
So does that mean quit? Or does that mean beat the odds? That is all up to your personality. I vote; beat the odds. You will feel much better when you do. There is a great feeling when you accomplish something, its a sense of achievement, it makes you happy. I have felt failure, and let me tell you: not fun. The world tells you "no, you are not a failure, you are a great person and I love you," well that may be true, but it is also true that I have failed. I may not have failed you, but I failed myself, and failed the program. I truly believe failing yourself is much worse than failing another person.
There is life. Life happens and life goes on, whether you are ready or not. You need to get back on that horse, get up and dust yourself off, try harder, work harder, and play harder. Growing up stinks. Just saying.
I love my niece. I'm proud of how she embraces life. I'm proud of how she picks herself up, how she reflects, of her honesty - and her writing!
My gratitude today .. is obvious...