This is my greatest anxiety.
I’m eight years old clutching a large stuffed bunny to my chest with watering eyes telling my mam that I don’t want to get so grown up I have to give my bunny up. I still find comfort in hugging that bunny now. I’m fourteen years old enamoured by the art of acting and I cry to my mam because if I don’t make it in the business now I’ll never make it. I still find love in that art and consider it even more plausible now. I’m sixteen years old and my parents encourage my first job, I sit in a heap on the floor in heaving tears because the grown up world has hit and I can already feel the magic withering. I still believe wholeheartedly in that magic now. I’m nineteen years old and I sob in front of my counsellor because I’m balancing a soul destroying part time job with a severely restricting study of literature, a topic so full of freedom to me before university. I still find my escape in the pages of a book now. I’m twenty one years old and I cry on my birthday because the numbers scream out at me from every card with despairing responsibility. I’m yet to take on that ominous ‘adult responsibility’ even now.
I’m twenty two years old and I grip my anxiety with grateful hands because I know I’m growing older and all too quick but my fear is the driving force behind living and that living is proving to me that age really is just a number. My age is as defining as my name. It’s obsolete, abstract, holds no credible meaning. Human’s created time to control because we have to control everything. Age gives a framework to order and so long as we abide by that we’re easier to categorise and influence. I’m not any kind of number, least of all that twenty two. I have the magical energy of childhood me, that angsty creative drive of teenage me and the sheer determination of young adult me and we’re all coexisting and learning with every number that adds itself to us.
You are not your age. There is no ‘should’ be doing, just ‘want’ to be doing. Disconnect from the laborious task of meeting the number and just grow at your own pace instead, less anxiety, more living.