The day I grew up. Or did I?

Ever since I came to my senses, I’ve been hearing, “grow up you fool” on a daily basis. Sometimes it comes to my family’s behest. The other, it comes from my friends or acquaintances. See what I did there? ‘FRIENDS’. In bold, highlighted. I guess this word plays a major role as a deciding factor in one’s growing up. In this shot I’ll only talk about one aspect of growing up that is, people around us. Let’s get into it then.

Let’s rewind a bit. As a child, you are roaming here and there, carefree. The only problems in your life are academics or playing hide n seek, lol. Gradually you grow up and start realizing the people & things around you, for what they are. Many restrictions are placed upon you, but still, that time of your life is the best you ever lived. At the time you don’t realize that.

What does a child want? To grow up.

In reality, quite the opposite happens. A child wants to grow up as quickly as possible. He thinks the restrictions placed on him are holding him back and want to set himself free. He thinks that when he becomes an adult, every problem will solve itself. If I wanted to summarize I would say it is a result of the most common human tendency of wanting what you don’t have.

He is now almost around 12 years old. Gradually he starts to realize that there are problems far greater than academics and petty fights between friends.

The boy stands silently in the corridor. What happened? Someone has died in his family. What does it mean to die? What is happening around me? All these questions and alike start bombarding him from within. Still, he stands there silently without a gasp.

Where the boy grew up…

His family members are crying. He sees at a distance, his mother is crying at her wit’s end. But why? In his perfect world, he never saw his mother cry. Mothers are not allowed to cry. Suddenly he feels something coming down on his cheek. It is a drop of tears from his eyes. But he does not understand why is he crying. He didn’t get scold neither did he lose a toy, then why was he crying without realizing.

As years passed by he understood the absence of his grandfather who had died. Yes, his grandfather was the one who died that day. He now understands what death is. It’s just absence. Someone was there yesterday, today he’s not. Simply gone. This incident made him realize what actually is growing up. What it is to face problems in your life and not being able to do anything about it.

What I’m trying to say is that one of the main results of growing up is losing people around you. Either to death or to their selfish desires. What do I mean by losing someone to their selfish desires? Jump back to para 1. Friends, remember? As I said, a very important factor.

When I was little, I had a lot of friends. Then, I don’t know why for some reason that lot kept shrinking in size as the years passed by. I came to high school and was left with a bunch. Then as I passed out I asked myself, what is a friend? Is there someone I can call my friend? A third person would say that I have many friends, but only I knew.

I heard someone once say, “I don’t have a lot of friends. I just know many people”. That hit me hard. Is it just me or it happens to everyone else also, I wonder.

What the boy wants now? To not grow up.

The boy is now an adult. The realization has hit him hard and now he only wants one thing. To be a child again and to never grow up. He laments for that carefree childhood bubble, that protected him from all the evil around him. His friends, who he knew were his friends by heart, he wished to go back to them.

You might think that I am talking rubbish. I might be though. But I’ll give you some numbers that speak for themselves. I’m not saying friends don’t exist. They do. But not all of them. You lose some, you gain some. The wheel keeps moving.

  • In a lifetime, you make 396 friends, but only 1 out of 12 friendships last. 
  • A 2004 study published in the American Sociological Review said that the average number of trusted friends fell by a third in the past 20 years. Instead, in the same duration, the proportion of people with no confidantes had doubled.  
  • Difference between a child and an adult. In January 2014, the Journal of Experimental Psychology reported on research suggesting that babies as young as nine months old recognize that friends tend to have similar interests. Even before they can talk, it seems that babies still have expectations about the social world.
  • A long term study by Florida Atlantic University (FAU) recently demonstrated that early teenage friendships are almost always broken apart by dissimilarity.
  • According to FAU professor Brett Laursen, “It causes conflict, it interferes with cooperative activities and shared pleasures and it creates circumstances where one friend bears more costs, such as the friend who is less aggressive; or gets more benefits, such as the friend who has lower social status than the other. Dissimilarity disrupts relationship bonds.”

What to do then?

Well, I’m 23 now. I don’t know if I have grown up or not. But because of this journey, I can say for certain. As much as growing up is about meeting new people and exploring new aspects of life, it’s the same for losing people around you as time passes by.

As I already said, you lose some you gain some. But the most important person in your life i.e you yourself is always around. So, just keep walking forward.

To be honest, you’ll never grow up. It’s a never ending process where you keep on having different experiences and then some.