We are faced with a crossroads in the teenage years of our lives. No longer are we carefree children, but we have not yet grown to be full adults. So we have a choice: do we push ourselves to grow up faster than intended to reach adulthood prematurely, or do we desperately cling to the innocence of childhood after it should have already passed?
I don’t have the answer to these questions, and I’m honestly not even sure I could tell you which direction I am going in, but I know one thing for sure: there is no other time in life like this. No other time so confusing and so liberating. To not fall into a single category provides freedom and adventure. The opportunity to experiment so freely with who we are and what we can be is one that does not last.
I know that this is a miserable phase of life and that I myself have spent much of it depressed, lonely and without direction or purpose. At this time, we all have internal struggles we have never faced before—struggles which we therefore fail to understand completely. I know this as well as anyone: I’ve learned the hard way how hard it is feel like life is without purpose or worth… or to feel like I myself am without purpose or worth.
But even in the face of such abject misery, I have also experienced moments that will last me a lifetime, and I have understood what it means to be human in more ways than ever before. Every emotion we feel as teenagers is felt so strongly, and sometimes these feelings are so new and overpowering that we hardly know how to handle them. But that can be amazing. It reminds us what it means to be human, to feel deeply, and it reminds us of how precious our days are and how wonderful interaction with other people can really be.
As we wade through this rough and tumble period of years we have deemed adolescence, we stand with one foot on either side of the train tracks, at the precipice of something greater than ourselves, not over the hill, not buried under it. I feel lucky to go through this messy fucking period of time: it’s a gift, a blessing and a curse. All that cliché bullshit that you hear older people say is completely true: it comes once in a lifetime, and it flies by—so cherish it.
Young. We are young, and though we may mold ourselves to appear older somehow, we are young. And in order to be old and wise you must first be young and stupid and yes I got that quote from Tumblr in eighth grade but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Because we are young. And stupid. And juvenile and messy and clumsy, tripping over our own two feet as we try and try to stand on them. And how wonderful it is to be messy and stupid and young.
We are not there yet. We have not reached our final destination in any sense of the word. But we’re on a path. There’s a fork in the road, and someday we will look back, only to find that we have taken the left side, or the right, without even realizing we had started to walk.