“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”Psalm 94:19
On June 29th I turn 20 years old.
In the fall of 2022 I transfer to a 4-year university.
Yikes, just putting that into words always freaks me out on multiple levels.
My brain always starts screaming “ARE YOU CRAZY?! YOU ARE A CHILD AND HAVE NEVER LIVED APART FROM YOUR FAMILY EVER IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE!”
It also screams other things, like “YOU ARE SOOOOO SHELTERED! HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY BE PREPARED TO LIVE ON YOUR OWN, PAY BILLS AND HANDLE YOURSELF IN THE REAL WORLD?!”
And yes, my brain feels like it screams my anxious thoughts and worries in auto-caps.
Everyone tells me “Wow! You are going to be an adult soon! You will be out on your own!”
They expect me to respond like “Yes! I am so excited to strike out on my own and leave my family and the only life I have ever known!”
But in reality, I am just wracked with anxiety.
I DON’T WANT TO BE AN ADULT.
I am already stressed out enough as a teenager!
It also does not help that most of my old friends are either away at a four-year university by now or are married and might even have children. This is mind-blowing to me (I respect their life decisions, and there is NO judgment here) as I do not feel capable of caring for myself, much less a spouse and an offspring.
I guess I still kind of think of myself as a child.
Maybe it is because I have been homeschooled for my entire life before I enrolled at my local community college my high school senior year. Or perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I have always had a babyface, and I’m very short, so I often get mistaken for someone who is 13 or 14 despite being a day away from turning 20.
Yes, I know that I am lucky to look young and youthful, but sometimes it is frustrating when people think I am just going into high school when I am starting my college sophomore year in the fall of 2021.
Maybe I am more scared now because I have started having more nightmares about moving away to college and living independently. In these dreams, I get freaked out because I do something wrong, and my parents are not there to help, and I panic until I wake up, or I miss my family in my dream, feeling scared and sad and lonely until I wake up.
All of my friends who have already moved away to college or will do so in the near future baffle me with their giddy excitement and anticipation.
My father, mother, and brother are more than just the people I live with: they have been my life-long companions. They have been there for most significant changes in my life, my accomplishments and failures, as I have been for theirs.
Missing out on theirs or them missing out on mine is just horribly heartbreaking to me.
Of course, I know that I will make friends at school and when I am living on my own, but the idea of creating a new family out of these friends sounds scary. I do not precisely WANT a new family. I love the one I have! Sure, I have friends now, but at the end of the day, I still go back home to my parents, laugh and hug and cry and share all of my deepest secrets with my parents.
Maybe I am just scared of the unknown.
Knowing what anxiety is like, and knowing myself, this is a very valid option.
I have always blown things out of proportion when I am scared and have a lot of time to stress out about something, and becoming an adult and going off to school is just the latest example of such an event.
I also could be underestimating myself. I never thought I would be able to drive myself to school and have straight As in college either, yet here I am, doing exactly that with God’s constant grace and enduring love along with the support of my peers and mentors.
Or maybe, just maybe…
I am human.
Afraid of something I cannot completely wrap my head around. Afraid of moving onto the next phase of my life that I have seen go wrong for so many people who seemed to have it all planned out.
Maybe it is okay to be afraid.
No matter what I feel, I know that God is with me, and I have the full support of my family and they have taught me what I need to know to be able to succeed on my own as an adult out in the world.
Sure, turning 20 might be scary…. but instead of mourning my childhood and that security I have lost, I will instead try to focus on being thankful for the knowledge I have been able to attain in my childhood and work on finding ways to be excited for my future as an adult.
Look out world, Belen is about to turn 20 and she is coming for ya!
(She just might be a bit confused while she is doing it.)
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Until next time!