Change is a side effect of life. Every breath, every heartbeat, leaves us different, sometimes imperceptibly, from who we were before.
As a kid, that was my worst nightmare – change.
I was most afraid of losing my childhood. When I was little, I thought youth was the epitome of existence – and by youth, I meant, you know, pre-adolescence. I reveled in everything childhood had to offer, from the freedom from responsibility to the tireless energy that propelled me forward.
There’s a moment I remember very clearly; not the details of the moment like where we were, how old I was, who was speaking or the exact words she used, but the content of the conversation. It stands out to me more than a decade later.
This anonymous person said she was constantly shocked by how much energy children had, and complained that she didn’t have the requisite amount to keep up with them.
And I was appalled.
Was I seriously to understand that there would come a day when I would be different? When the things I desired most in the world might no longer be my desires? When I couldn’t run rampant through the playground for hours upon hours, tirelessly playing tag and hide and seek?
What horrors. I mean, what, even was the point of life if there was to be no energy? Would I have to take naps, of all horrible prospects?
It’s funny to think back on those days now. I’m sitting in my living room, within sight of my bed, and what I want most in the world is to get up, put my computer away, and take a nice, long nap.
If it weren’t for the internship interview I have to leave for soon, I would honestly just go sleep. And not just because I’m (perpetually) tired — because I like naps.
I can hear seven-year-old Karis gasping in horror, can see her shielding her face and shaking her head in disappointment. What have I become?
An adult, that’s what.
And you know what else, small child I used to be? I’m not mad about it.
You heard that right. I’m perfectly content with the low-energy, sleep-loving, responsible self I have become. Sure, I wish I weren’t always so tired, but I don’t regret not having the energy to run rampant through the streets because, well, that prospect holds little appeal for me at this point. I also wish I didn’t have so many responsibilities — like taxes. I just finished mine and man, what a headache that was! But on the bright side, now I get a lovely check reimbursing me. I’m excited because it means I can pay rent for another month!
Should I be sad that the things that excite me now are bedtime and rent-paying, as opposed to furious games of tag and hours spent doing nothing with no consequences?
I don’t think so. I don’t think I’ve lost my childlike joy and excitement about life, because I still feel happiness in intensity and laugh like a hyena over little more than a cat in a box.
I think it’s just that I’ve changed. Not just my circumstances, but my self as well.
See, I used to be afraid of change because I thought it would just be the world changing around me. Now I know that I change to adapt to my circumstances, to better handle them.
And I’m happy with my circumstances. Young Karis never would have wanted to live in New York City, share a bedroom with three other girls and spend 17.5 years going to school.
But Young Karis also thought her mirror reflection was a whole different person, so her views are kind of irrelevant after all…