By Sharon Arulnesan
“Growing up isn’t the problem, forgetting is.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
These seven short and simple words have been echoing in my head for the past couple of months. In hindsight, growing up certainly was easy – the days of outlining hopscotch squares with pastel-coloured chalk and binge watching Pixar movies during sleepovers feel like distant, foggy memories, slipping away from my grasp.
The clock has begun ticking for when I leave my quaint hometown and venture off to an unfamiliar world; a whirlwind of different places, different people, and different experiences are what’s to come when I begin my postsecondary education.
As exciting as this change is, I’ve been having conflicting thoughts: taking a leap forward means slowly edging away from my childhood and life as I know it. It’s a thought that makes my head spin to even attempt to comprehend, and truly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to face the concept.
What about my childhood best friend who lives two houses down? Will I ever see her again? What about the friends I’ve made throughout my teenage years who I feel tethered to through all the secrets and captured moments we share? And, what about my family; my wonderful mom who has been nothing short of supportive and selfless these past 17 years, my dad who has taught me to be courageous even when it seemed unthinkable in the instant, and my brother who has never failed to bring out the free-spirited, reckless child inside of me? Will all these people fade into the abyss when I part ways with them and become tangled up in the meticulous grown-up world?
To answer my own question: no, these people won’t fade into the abyss because that’s physically impossible. But, that’s difficult to believe when I live in a world that changes faster than I can blink.
When I sit back and think about leaving, everything that I thought matters really doesn’t. That one poor grade I got on a test, other people’s frivolous opinions about me, what I said or should have said in a conversation, the list goes on. But I am less malleable to these things when I think about leaving home. Sometimes, we are so determined to succeed in the contest of being the smartest, strongest and bestest person that we forget what’s right in front of us.
The Little Prince, in its absolute bare bones, is a classic childhood story about a peculiar little boy who questions the mediocrity of the adult world, but the reality is that growing up is so much more than propelling yourself into an indifferent adulthood. Although I still have some time before I start my postsecondary education, I anticipate what the rich-with-possibility world has to offer me. My childhood is long gone, but remembering is the very glue that holds my past together as I turn the page to the next chapter of my life.
So, as we brace for what’s next and take on more challenges, we must remember to keep the wide-eyed kid in us alive – we owe it to our younger selves.
Sharon Arulnesan is a Grade 12 student at Sir Oliver Mowat C.I.