Could You All Maybe Stop Growing Up For A Sec?

I’m not sure where to start with this one. I’m not even entirely sure what it is I want to say but I felt compelled to write. Good idea or bad idea, I’m going to allow my thoughts to roam free, write what first comes to mind on the topic and go from there.

You see, I’ve been feeling very nostalgic over the last few weeks. Particularly since September hit. Something about the end of this summer forced me to look around myself and acknowledge (if not accept) that things have changed and that everyone around me suddenly seems grown up. I mean, obviously I’m aware that ageing is a natural process but I’m talking about grown up in the sense of the life changes that those around me are experiencing and new chapters everyone seems to be embarking on. Engagements, graduations, new jobs, starting university. When did everyone start being so adult?

Coincidentally, I was reading Sophie Milner’s post about growing up earlier today. The difference was that she was looking at things from the opposite end. While I’m 21, she’s just celebrated her 26th birthday and with that came celebration of growing up, shaking off the negative connotations of growing up and acknowledging how far she and her friends have come. I, on the other hand am still adjusting to how quickly it seems to be happening and trying desperately to cling on to those that are busy doing the growing up.

But see, that’s where my feelings on the whole thing start to get a bit confused. I couldn’t be happier for my friends and family and sometimes I feel as though I could burst with pride at what they’ve achieved but also could they maybe slow down a little? It’s all getting a bit much for the girl who is usually so desperately impatient.

Let’s take my friends as Exhibit A. SOOOOOOO many people I know got engaged this summer. Yep, ENGAGED. Some older than others but either way, where has the time gone that that they’ve reached that stage in life? It’s so exciting and I’m over the moon for them but (to sound a lot like my granny) it feels like only yesterday that we were sat in a classroom together, giggling away and being told to keep quiet or (sounding a lot less like my granny) sneaking into clubs underage, fretting over fake ID and thinking we were the shit when we actually got past the bouncers.

Those that weren’t busy getting engaged were busy graduating, taking on their masters degrees, moving in with boyfriends or starting their first jobs – all of which once seemed so far off in a grown up future but like some twisted dream, have suddenly become a reality. It’s like we all blinked and missed a few years.

As the end of summer was suddenly upon us, my group of school friends and I all suddenly realised just how little we had seen each other because of our now busy schedules. As a group we’re notorious for our inability to make plans that suit everyone but judging by this summer, that’s something that’s only going to get more complicated as the years go on. We’ve all built our own little lives now. Lives that involve living in different countries, working different hours and committing to career defining exams.

Next up, the family. They too are guilty of all of this growing up business. On the one hand there’s my younger brother – ‘little’ brother would be the wrong term considering he towers over me these days. He’s taken on a fairly big life change, just started uni and is living on the outskirts of London – a move I haven’t been ballsy enough to make yet. I don’t think I had fully grasped just how grown up he’s become until he came home last weekend. After meeting up for a family brunch it was definitely weird that we didn’t all go back home together. Instead he headed off to the airport to fly back to his new life.

Then there’s my little sister (not quite towering over me but getting there) who will 16 next week. 16. I’m waiting for someone to turn up with cameras and tell me I’m being pranked. She’ll probably always be 12 in my head, even at that I’m being generous. She’s reached the age where she’s discovered that my clothes and shoes fit her – an interesting experience in itself as I regularly find things missing. She’s also reached the age where – and not to embarrass her too much – we engage in a lot more girl talk that previously she was too young to understand. I love that she’s able to come to me about these things and it’s interested watching as she discovers her own style and establishes her own beliefs and values but it’s also terrifying. This time next year she will be learning to drive my car – a fact that will continue to shock me no matter how many times I say it out loud. I remember the day she was born for flip sake, how did she grow up so fast????????

As I said at the beginning of the post, I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this all. It’s all very weird. I don’t feel sad but I don’t exactly feel happy either. I feel proud of my friends and family and I’d go as far as to say excited at times. But mostly I’m just in awe of how time truly does fly. I’m only 21 so by no means old but as I sit back and watch all of the changes going on around me, I finally understand why people keep telling me to slow down, I’m only 21.

This is only just the beginning, kids. We’re growing up whether we like it or not. Let’s make the most of it.

Photos by Kellie Scott

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Niamh ♥


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