Growth Hurts

I loved my junior year. Everybody else seemed to be stressed, but I was in my happy little world of denial. I had a cozy little place in my social world and felt a deep sense of belonging as a result of that. I spent hours doing whatever made me happy and felt content almost all of the time. If I was forced to repeat one year of my life for the next ten years, I would certainly choose junior year. It was the time of my life.

It was enjoyable, but was it fruitful? Hardly.

Of course I learned things. I discovered some things about myself, primarily concerning identity and ambition. I just can’t say my life was radically changed. After each completed year of high school, I always chose one core lesson I learned that year that was represented in a new piercing. Freshman and sophomore years were easy for me to pick, but not last year, because I didn’t do a whole lot of maturing. Of all the years in my life, I learned and grew the least during junior year. Why? Because I was comfortable. 

It is impossible to make enormous strides in maturity or confidence when you’re comfortable. Remember when you were little and you’d lie awake at night because your legs were aching? Those were growing pains. Growing pains. You have to give up some of your satisfaction in order to mature. If you’re not willing to give it up, well, you’ll be forced to; often our satisfaction is stripped from us by circumstances out of our control. You have to decide whether to become bitter and stubborn or to allow yourself to learn and cherish the time you have to improve yourself.

I wouldn’t take back junior year. I think it was important for me to get a break from growing for a bit, as I’d been doing quite a lot of it in the years prior. However, I wouldn’t trade the growing I’m doing now for another year of fun. In the long run, there’s nothing “fun” about being stagnant. Besides, who would ever want to be sixteen forever?

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