I could choose

I’m at that age where I could choose either to grow up or to stay a child. I always thought it would be an easy choice; I’ve always wanted to be independent and be trusted by my parents to take charge of my own life decisions. I turned 16 a few weeks ago, and I really thought I would feel older. Soon, I’ll have the option of driving to school alone every day and finally not having to rely on my parents every evening to take me home on their way back from work. But since many of my friends and classmates already have privileges such as that, I felt like a sixteen-year-old well before May 24, 2014. A few of my cousins are in their mid-twenties and live and work in Chicago. I visited them last summer for about a week and a half, soaked in the city lifestyle, and returned home satisfied and with a much more realistic perspective of what it was like to be independent. You had to do your own groceries, cook at least two of your three meals every day, and always be aware of what you have to do next. Create your own schedule and follow it religiously. I knew I wasn’t ready to grow up last summer, but things have changed in the past year. Here I am, on a 2-month trip to another country without my parents.

            I feel ready to be more independent, but feeling ready isn’t the same thing as being ready. I guess I’ll find out in August whether or not I was ready; till then, I can just do my best to be responsible, aware, and productive. Sometimes I still wish I was eight or ten years old. I was innocent; I never dwelled on the fact that the way I led my life as a child will directly affect how I lead it in the future. That was my favorite part of being a kid; I did all the fun stuff and my parents took care of the rest. The problem is that now I want both the fun stuff and the independence, and I can only have both if I’m willing to shoulder more responsibilities. I’m hoping this trip will encourage and, at times, force me to do that.

            As I sit in Dubai’s international airport writing this, I’m leaving behind a lot. My parents will be continents away and so will most of my friends. Vacation will no longer be as relaxing, and I know my free time will be much less. I’ve left behind the last “easy” year of school, and consequently, my last “easy” summer. The circumstances of my life are “growing up,” and I hope I am too.