10 Reasons Why Growing Up Doesn’t Actually Suck


It doesn’t take a genius to realize that our modern society values youth very highly.  Turn on the TV or flip through any magazine & you will be greeted with a veritable host of ads showcasing products that proclaim they can “erase wrinkles,” “cover up greys,” or “give you the energy of youth,” etc, etc.  In the media we are constantly assaulted with pictures of young hot celebrities & on a more day-to-day level we inevitably hear people making comments about how much getting old & growing up sucks.  Since graduating from college I have even noticed a difference in the things I see on Facebook.  I now see a lot of statuses about how much “real life” sucks & there seems to be a ridiculous amount of nostalgia going around for the innocence & simplicity of childhood.  Now I for one spent a great deal of my childhood & adolescence pining for adulthood & the freedoms it would bring.  Perhaps in some ways it’s sad that I didn’t just enjoy my life to the fullest at those stages as I suppose most kids/teens do.  But I have to say that even though being an adult is hard, I for one am not disappointed at all.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  One of my greatest goals in life is to always retain the energy & vibrancy of youth while balancing this with the wisdom & serenity of getting older.  So today I thought I’d compile a list of reasons why growing up doesn’t actually suck.  In truth there are a lot of things I LOVE about getting older & I think our society could certainly use a reminder of these things from time to time, so here we go:

growing up

  1. Growing up means no longer having to obsess over every facet of your appearance.  I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but when I was a teenager I spent entirely too much time worrying about every tiny bit of my appearance.  If even one hair was out of line, I was sure I looked horrible & that everyone was secretly laughing at me.  Though I’ve never been the type to really follow fashion trends, I still felt the need to be as “in style” as possible.  Well, one of the great things about getting older is the ability to just not give a crap about such things.  And to know that you are better off because of it.  I don’t mean that I don’t care about looking my best; I certainly do.  But if I have a “bad hair day” or a day when my acne is acting up & making my face look like a teenager’s all over again, I have the maturity to know that this too shall pass.  I also know that if anyone thinks less of me for not wearing the trendiest clothes or not having perfect skin or anything superficial like that, then those people aren’t worth worrying about anyway.  I’m far from the confident person I hope to be someday but I’ve also come a long way from the girl I used to be, & I’m proud of that.
  2. Growing up means realizing that your mom was right when she said it was more important to be respected than to be liked.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m a born people-pleaser.  It just comes naturally to me to want to make others happy & to be well-liked by everyone.  But I have learned to temper that when necessary because I have discovered that it truly is impossible to please everyone all the time.  And that’s ok.  It’s just life.
  3. Stemming from the last point, getting older means having the courage to say no to people who are just trying to use you to their own advantage.  It means having enough self-respect to not waste your valuable time on people who don’t actually care about you.  Getting older means realizing that your worth is not diminished by those who do not recognize or appreciate you.  This gives you the confidence to say no to those who do not actually have your best interests at heart.
  4. Getting older means not having to panic every time something doesn’t go “your way.”  It means realizing that just because you’ve had a bad day or even a bad week, month, or year, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to have a bad life.  And getting older means realizing that your attitude is the greatest determinant in your own happiness.  (This is both scary & enlightening.  I could write a whole blog post on this subject & I probably will soon.)
  5. Getting older means learning how to agree to disagree.  It means building friendships with people who are vastly different from you & instead of trying to “convert” them you are content to learn from each other & use your differences to build a stronger relationship.
  6. Getting older means independence.  Ah, what a glorious word!  This is what I longed for so much as a child.  I know most people end up regretting such longings because they say the price of freedom is too great.  But I disagree.  I think if you make good decisions in life, you will set yourself up for success & you’ll be able to reap the rewards of independence to the fullest.  I love that as an adult I can choose my career, my spouse, where I live, what house to buy, what to wear, who to be friends with, where to go to school, what to eat, basically everything!
  7. Growing up means realizing that there is no one right way for everyone in life.  There’s nothing more freeing than understanding that there is no exact prescription for success that every person must follow.  Growing up means having the freedom to make mistakes & learn from them.
  8. Growing up means realizing that sometimes life sucks.  It means looking evil in the face & realizing that this world is a cold & scary place.  (That wasn’t supposed to rhyme…)  I know this must seem like a bad thing.  And it’s this loss of innocence that so many people mourn so greatly.  But I’ve never understood why people celebrate innocence so much.  It’s nothing more than an illusion.  For of what value is happiness if it’s based on something that is fake?  To me that’s what “innocence” is.  It’s the happiness that comes from not realizing how bad the world can really be.  I think the happiness we can experience as adults is all the greater because we have had to see so many of the dark sides of life too.  Which is of greater value: the happiness of a child who does not yet understand the world or the happiness of an adult who has looked into the pit of hell, faced the monsters of the world, & come out alive?  Maybe I was a weird child (ok, who am I kidding, I was DEFINITELY a weird child for a number of reasons), but I don’t ever remember feeling the type of blissfully ignorant happiness that people always talk about children experiencing.  In any case, I believe the happiness & love we can experience as adults is all the greater because it’s a real choice.  We have chosen to seek joy even though we have seen that life is often cruel & unfair.  We have chosen to seek peace even though we know that life can be violent to even the meekest of us.  This thought process requires a bit of mental gymnastics at times but I truly believe I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  Yes, I have days when I look at the world & feel like there’s no hope.  But those days aren’t the norm & when they do happen I have the wisdom to know those feelings will pass.  Whew, that was a deep one.
  9. Growing up means realizing that the journey is as important as the destination.  It means understanding that life is short & we truly must live every day like it’s our last, as cliché as that may be.
  10. Getting older means realizing that just because your life isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t great.  It’s so easy to look in the mirror & think “I’d be so much prettier if my nose were just a little straighter” or “I’d be so much happier if I could afford that fancy car I’ve always wanted” or any number of such things.  It’s so easy to compare yourself to your friends, coworkers, or even celebrities & feel like your life just doesn’t measure up.  But growing up means realizing that everyone’s life isn’t measured against the same yardstick.  We all have our own meter for success & happiness & that’s the only one that really matters.

 As an addendum, if anyone wants to help me create better titles for my blog posts, that would be awesome.  I like to think I’m a pretty decent writer but when it comes to creating titles for papers, essays, poems, or blog posts, I’m always at a loss, as you can clearly see by the super clever title of this post.  😉

Things I Learned From Country Music


For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge music nerd.  I listen to music almost constantly & firmly believe everything in life is better with musical accompaniment.  I love all kinds of music though I usually spend more time listening to rock than any other genre.  However, I go through spells a couple times of year when I also listen to a lot of country music.  I suppose that is somewhat inevitable when you live in the South & grew up in a small town.  This past weekend I got a notion that I should try out a short blog series featuring “things I’ve learned from such & such genre of music.”  Since I’ve been on a country kick lately, I decided to start with country music.  It was hard for me to choose only a handful of songs that have great meaning to me, but I don’t want these posts to be ridiculously long so I limited myself to five songs.  I’m going to attempt to write one of these posts for every major genre of music (though I’ll admit rap might not happen but I will give it my best effort).  For those of you who think country music is only about wearing cowboy boots, fishing, skinny-dipping, or drinking beer, please check out the songs listed below which I hope will serve to broaden your horizons a bit.  I have conveniently included YouTube links to each song because I am awesome like that.  😉

follow your arrow

  • Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves

    • No matter what you do, there will always be naysayers & one of the greatest lessons in life is that you truly cannot please everyone. Thus it’s better to just do what you know in your heart is right for you because at the end of the day you are the one who has to answer to yourself for your own life. I think in small towns this sentiment is especially true because everybody knows each other so rumours & gossip can start & spread so easily. I like how Kacey points out that life is often viewed in extremes; for example, “If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore/if you don’t save yourself for marriage, you’re a whore-able person” (great play on the word horrible, isn’t that?) when in reality the truth often falls somewhere in between such extremes.  And, yes, this is probably one of the only country music songs to ever openly support gay rights, which I love.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg4YdXUaCg0 P.S. This entire album is AMAZING & you would never guess that Kacey is a mere 25 years old. Her song-writing skills & insight into life are superior to many who are two or three times her age. Even if you don’t usually like country music, I beg you to look up Kacey Musgraves on YouTube & give her songs a listen. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  • I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

    • This is one of those classic songs that just never gets old because it’s so beautifully written & the message is one that bears repeating. This song reflects on the importance of never losing the wonder of being alive whether it be standing in awe at the sight of the ocean, dancing every chance you get, or learning that love sometimes hurts but it’s worth the chance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw

  • Bleed Red by Ronnie Dunn

    • This is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. The message is so simple but so beautiful: we are all human beings with struggles, scars, fears, hopes, & dreams trying to make the best of our lives. We all make mistakes & need forgiveness from time to time. At the end of the day despite differences in race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, or any other “external” factor at our deepest core we are all the same: “We all bleed red.” If every one of us took this song to heart every day of our lives I’m quite certain we could end (or perhaps even avoid) a lot of conflicts, including everything from squabbles between husbands & wives to international wars. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AMcwxAug1Q

  • Life Ain’t Always Beautiful by Gary Allan

    • Gary Allan’s rough voice adds to the magic of this song for me because it seems to perfectly match with the message of the song: “Life ain’t always beautiful but it’s a beautiful ride.” Truer words have never been spoken for indeed life is often difficult, challenging, & scary but in the end it’s still a fascinating, wonderful journey & the hard times really do make us stronger & wiser. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VDNMtn0t2A

  • I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice

    • The best way I can describe this song is achingly beautiful. I heard it for the first time as I was driving into Appomattox on 460 for my dear uncle Robert’s funeral. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The song is written from the perspective of someone who lost a soldier friend but the feelings behind it are applicable to anyone who has suffered the loss of a close friend or family member. I love that the song addresses both the pain of such a loss as well as the anger that we all experience as we beg God/the universe why it happened because no matter the circumstances death is never easy for those left behind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCSMCgqlc-0