Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Twenty Something, Twenty Nothing

As a young child, none of us really thought about anything more than going to the park to play and hoping our next meal came from McDonald's. But it seems as an adult, all of our childish aspirations and dreams fade away.

I'm 22 years old, going on 23, going on lost. 

As a child I never worried about where my next meal would come from or if I would have clothes to wear for school. I thought life was good and easy for the most part. My parents were my beloved best friends and I thought they knew everything.

I can remember sitting in the truck on a road trip and giving my mother "hard" multiplication problems to answer because I was awe-inspired that she could do such "hard" math in her head.

"Mama, what's 300 times 20!?" I would say.
"6,000 Kayla," my mother would almost instantly reply.
"Okay, but what is 265 times 91?" I would ask.
"24,115," my mother responded patiently.
"How do you do that!?"
"It just takes practice moving numbers around in your head," my mother would always say.

Or I thought it was amazing that my father took complicated images of peoples heads and "found" cancer and inserted IVs. I wanted to be just like him someday. I use to take every chance I got to go to work with him, I even read his college text books.

Its funny much time has passed. Memories that were clear as day when they were happening but are now fuzzy and fading away with each day.

By the time I reached my teens I realized that my parents were "old" and behind the times. My mother had been using her old Nokia phone to calculate those numbers and my dad was definitely no brain surgeon, besides I was type one diabetic and I inserted my own IVs all the time!

 No one wanted to be like their parents, especially me. I remember thinking how little they really knew about the world. I was it, I was part of the new generation, part of the future! How could they possibly know!?

I felt like everything I did was better done my way, their way was old and out-of-date. I still let them teach me things, but only in vain. I knew I'd have to learn to work, manage my money and do "adult things." But I never really knew what those things entailed. I did not know how much of the world my parents worked hard to keep from getting to me.

When I reached 16, I felt like I was it, I was biting at the bit, just waiting to reach 18, so I could strike out on my own and prove that I knew how to do life better than my parents. I fought them tooth and nail every step of the way. 

As soon as my 18th birthday rolled over, I struck out on my own. And when I say struck out, that's exactly what I did, was struck out....I struck out like the Cardinals playing the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth tied 4 to 4. I thought I had life in the bag until I had the rug ripped right out from underneath my feet.

I struggled up a downward slope that just never seemed to end. But I was convinced that I still knew better.

By 19 years old, I started to think, "Maybe my parents were on to something here. Maybe they really do know a little about life." But of course that wasn't enough for me and I continued on as my parents watched me make their same struggles that they tried to save me from. My nineteenth year in life was the hardest I've ever lived. I hated life at that point.

One day after I turned 20, I woke up and realized I didn't know a damn thing. Already I had spent what seemed like so much of my life struggling while my parents seemed to live happy lives. I started to suddenly appreciate my parents and the things they had to say. And that my dear readers, is when my life started to take a turn for the better.

When 21 rolled around, I knew that my very short and insignificant 21 years of life meant nothing in comparison to my parents 30+ years. Twenty something, means absolutely nothing. I realized the time I had spent thinking I knew it all, was the most miserable I had ever been and time had really seemed to drag on. But now here I was, a young 21 year old surfing my way through the world.

And now, here I am 22 years old, heading towards 23. Every month I spend listening to my parents wisdom seems to fly by faster and faster. I grow older but somehow younger and my parents just seem to grow older but wiser.

This Saturday, August 12th, 2017, I will have been living in Illinois for 2 years. It's crazy for me to ponder that fact. But I know I could've never done it, had I never realized my parents "know-it-all." At times I still feel lost in this world. I've found myself, but sometimes I still find myself searching for my own path. My parents know this and always point me in the best possible direction.

If there is one thing I do know, my time with my parents is ticking down and that's something no one is able to stop. I just hope they are around long enough for me to raise my own twenty something out of twenty nothing.

To my parents, if you are reading this: Thank you for all of your love and support now and times past. Being your daughter is my greatest honor and I just want you all to know this twenty something knows ABSOLUTELY nothing!



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