Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is It Better Now?

That was me bored out of my mind.
There was a time when I once thought that getting older would be somehow easier, perhaps a bit carefree and more spontaneous, because well, grown ups were allowed to do everything and anything they wanted. As a kid, looking up at people who were adults, I envied the "freedom" I thought they had. I envied the millions of things that they could have done, but most around me didn't do most of what I thought I would do myself, say if God came down and said, "Voila Deb! You're an adult! Go do whatever it is that makes you happy!" So then one day, I became an adult. I became that person who had the freedom to live her life the way I wanted. Then I learned about fear, not only learned it, absorbed it. I saw people getting into trouble, getting hurt, getting killed over the things I thought were once "fun". I saw people being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I saw young adults having heart attacks, dying of cancer, dying of AIDS. I saw things I never knew existed in this awesome world I viewed as a child. And now, I sit here as a middle aged adult, who has lost her Dad from cancer, lost a few friends from this awful disease, lost relatives at a young age of heart attacks and all sorts of tragic instances. I realized life is a treasure if you can maintain it. Life can be a blessing and life can also be a dreadful curse. My fear turned into anxiety. My anxiety turned into phobias. My phobias turned into dark depressions, which kept me from living that "free life" - that life full of spontaneity. I now think about the past, about how free I was as a child under my parents' care. How wonderful life used to be - how carefree and loved I was, no matter what I did wrong. I remember the safety and comfort of being young, to which as an adult, I have none. Don't get me wrong, life isn't bad at all, I know it could be worse, but I wonder why I thought this adult life would be so "cool". I remember the instant forgiveness - the way my parents put me before themselves as they did with all my sisters.  It's also strange how I never used to have problems sleeping. Insomnia? What's that? Nothing kept me up. I had no worries other than a possibly pop quiz the next day in math.

After a second dry martini, I can think clearly and relax. As a kid, all I needed to do was kick some ass on Atari and call it a night. Even as a young adult, a night out partying was a way to relieve my stress. These days, a night past 10pm is one that'll have me mimicking a flu for the next 3 days. I remember Dad telling me, "Whaddya' got to worry about? You got it made, kid!" And I thought, "I got it made? Are you kidding me? My crush has a boyfriend, they want me to wear a bathing suit in front of the boys in gym, some bully on the bus wants to kick my ass and I have lab tomorrow morning at 6am!" (I know some of you remember those early morning lab classes.) Those were the stressors. It sounds so 'perfect' - and it probably was if you compare it to those who had it rough as children. But does it get any better when you grow up even if you had a rough childhood? I know so many adults who have PTSD due to their past childhood. They just never let it go and so, it lingers throughout the rest of their years with and without intensive therapy. I think about how it is today for kids, for my two nieces and one nephew - how hard it must be for them to grow up in this world. I remember how I was bullied by this one girl all. the. time. in school and keeping that as my "big secret". I didn't want to be a snitch or a "tattletale". I wanted to be one of those kids who never ran to the teacher or their mommy to rat someone out. It was "uncool" and you were called a wuss if you did something like that. Today? Kids have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - all these forums to either share as friends or attack as enemies. And the worst part is the anonymity. They can hide behind their iPhones and computers in order to let someone know how "ugly" or "fat" they are or how they're "hated" just to rip someone apart. The only technology I had was *69 - even before caller id. Back then, you had to face your pranker head on: "Who is this?"

So realistically, being young and being an adult are both challenging in their own ways. If you really think back to when you were a kid, think about how you felt and all of the pressures of being a kid, getting in trouble for doing things that aren't 'seemingly' bad. And while we all have this sense of freedom being an adult, it also comes with other challenges that may seem like you wanna jump back into time and go back on that bus to face that bully, who now hates her life and turned out to be all the names that she once called you. Karma works in mysterious ways. I guess in retrospect, I'm glad I was "me" back then and somehow, I appreciate the "now".

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For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!