It is ok to have a slower outlook on a world that wants to grow up fast. In a world as fast-paced as today’s, it is fair to say that generations are growing up quicker than ever. Obviously not in a literal sense, but through their relationships with themselves as well as others. I, myself, have always felt a little behind the trend of early maturation, with most of my friends having serious relationships before such matters even occurred to me as important.
Maybe it’s the influence of social media and our early exposure to such adult behaviour, that causes the desire to grow up so fast. It certainly feels like the concept of youth has advanced so much that even the girls in secondary school appear more put together than I ever did at the age of eleven. Or maybe I’ve always been a bit disheveled and naïve. Either way, the realisation that your interests in life are the polar opposites of those you thought you knew best, can come as a shock. Whereas many of my girlfriends would rather focus on long-term relationships, I dream of travel and an exploration of the world, which doesn’t necessarily include romance. And purely for this reason, I feel as though I’m somewhat behind on the growing-up scale, as though I missed the memo on when to start mature relationships that set the path for my romantic future. I’m not saying this as someone made bitter by a lack of romance, because of course it interests me, but at the age of eighteen I didn’t expect relationships to be so serious that I would feel out of place in my own age bracket of society. It even makes me question whether I’m grown up enough. In reality, all I want to do is enjoy the final summer with people who’ve become like family to me over my teenage years, but instead it feels as though I’ve been banished to an alternate universe, because I prioritize relationships differently.
It is unlikely that I am alone in this, and there will have been generations of women who’ve experienced the same sense of loneliness, and generations more to come. It may in fact be something everyone encounters at one point or another in life, and hopefully, it becomes easier to understand and cope with.
Of course, every girl (and boy) matures differently, and our ideas of adult life will always be unique to us, but does this seclusion mean we have to follow in the footsteps of our differently-minded friends? No, not at all. Equally, does it mean we have to cut ties with those we would trust with our lives? Definitely not. But if you’ve asked yourself this in the midst of a lonely summer, then know you aren’t alone. In some ways, it may be a sign to go out and explore the world by yourself; dependent on nobody but you. You might return with a better understanding of who you are, before deciding to share your life with someone else. It could actually make you feel more matured and prepared to take on an adult world. And as for your friends, you’ll still be there for them, whether they continue to think on a separate level of maturity than you or not, because you are a good friend with a different point of view. And that’s ok.
Written by Georgia Stead