Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wish I'd Never Grow Up

I had the opportunity to have my beautiful little sisters and my wonderful big-little brother visit me this weekend. Every time I see any of my family members I'm reminded of how blessed I am to have such a close and wonderful family. With five siblings, so there are six of the 'Capron Kids Clan' in total, it often feels like I just don't have enough time in my life to spend with all of them. I wouldn't trade any of my siblings for the world, and seeing how we are growing up with our varied and wonderful talents has made this life's journey that much more amazing.

Speaking of growing up, I had an interesting talk with my beautiful little sister, Mallory. We've had this particular discussion several times before and we've never reached a good conclusion. Here's pretty much how it goes every time.

Mallory: "I hate getting older."
Me: "Why's that?"
Mallory: "I just don't want to grow up and be old and have problems, I want to be (insert age here, recently it was 19) forever.
Me: "You learn so much more when you get older though, and age is just a number anymore.
Mallory: "It's so scary though, and things aren't going to be the same. Don't you feel that way?"
Me: "Well...yes."

And I run out of things to say. Why are we afraid of getting older? Honestly I'm not the best example on this, nor should I be asked for advice because she's watched me cry on every single one of my birthdays since I was 17 about how I was getting older. My fears stem from having a birthday and not having accomplished the things I want to. Her fears come from worrying that things will change and never be as good as they are now. Both are valid fears, I've learned that trying to dismiss them just makes it worse.

First, my 'birthday cries' are rather traumatic, or actually they have been for several years. When I was 17 my family had just moved from Idaho to Wyoming, I was starting at a new school for my senior year and had  practically no friends. I remember that birthday in particular because I felt so lonely and like life was passing me by while all my friends were moving on without me. When I was 18 it was because I thought I was moving backwards in life, even though I almost had my Associates degree and was playing first violin in the Powder River Symphony Orchestra. I think it's this primal fear that my body was moving forward without my mind and my life was going to be gone and I wouldn't have done any of the great things I'd promised myself I would do. I realize now that 18 is really young to be having those fears, but they were very real. 22 was particularly traumatic. I was at college and I remember getting up, getting to school and thinking I was going to be okay, then breaking down on the greenroom couch and sitting there sobbing for probably 45 minutes while my then-boyfriend kindly, if rather awkwardly, sat with me patting my back and wondering what the heck was going on.

I didn't cry at 24 though.

There's a major reason that I didn't cry on my 24th. During the summer of 23, I told myself that enough was enough, and I was going to take 24 for me. That meant no more conforming to what I thought others wanted me to do, and I would do everything that I wanted to do. In that summer I managed to be in a show, dye my hair pink, work at a haunted house, get into an improv troupe, quit the stupid job I hated, and go back to school. Plans are slightly on hold due to lackage of money and car, but I'm changing that again. I've been working on a book and have a great job coming up in a few weeks. Life is good, and I'm starting to realize that if I move forward myself, it won't feel like life is passing me by.

Second, Mallory's fear that things will change. I'm not her, so I can't say exactly where this fear comes from, but I have an idea. As we get older she's seen Robert and I move out and run into a gamut of problems associated with life in general. She's also an athlete in a sport that favors younger athletes, so she most likely fears losing her ability to do what she loves. She's moved 3 times in the last 4 years with my parents, and mostly due to that she's lost a lot of her friends, who move on when she moves away. Having changes forced on you makes you fear change, and I think she would like to freeze time until everything feels under control. Nobody can do that though, thus the discussion.

Mallory is leaving in two weeks to go on a mission now, and I think this is her way of facing the fears. She has taken control and initiated the change in her life. I honestly was extremely surprised by her choice, but I applaud it. She's leaving a college gymnastic option and putting education on hold to serve the Lord, and I think to get control of life. Maybe in 18 months she and I will be having a different conversation. I hope so.

Life is about change. It's about moving up, moving on, getting older, learning, understanding, and choosing. I still fear getting older, but I'm managing to survive it. I hope to embrace it one day. Hopefully Mallory will too. I think she will, she's smarter and more mature than I am even now, so she probably won't take until 24 to realize that birthdays aren't for crying, but for celebrating the knowledge that has come with another year of growth, and the people that are there to share it with you.

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