This is for you if you’ve ever been told you’re too young.
Even if the person saying it was you.
I’ve been told over and over again my whole life
You’re too young
Too young to travel the world. Too young to start a business. Too young to fall in love. Too young to know things, to really truly know.
For a culture that worships youth, we dismiss it rather easily.
When you grow up, you’ll understand
Said my teachers, rolling their eyes at my childish dreams to change the world.
It’s not that simple
When life, death, purpose, friendship, love, compassion… it all seemed pretty simple to me.
You’re just naive
Said ex-boyfriends, professors, and employers when I chose to see the best in others.
Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, Sara
As I chased butterflies in the summer sun and traced rainbows across the sky with my little finger.
I thought one day, when I was old enough, I would know what everyone kept talking about.
One day, I’d learn the dark secret the world kept telling me I didn’t know.
One day, I’d be a full-fledged adult with a healthy dose of cynicism I’d mislabel “Realism” and a little slump in my shoulders from carrying my share of the Great Suffering. Realizing pain is pervasive, deep and inevitable. For that is the dark secret, isn’t it?
Well, I’m older now. But, I keep hearing these messages.
I’ve traveled the world several times over, and am a bit more weathered. But I still believe in miracles.
I’ve explored darker places in my soul than I dared believe existed, and I’ve emerged a bit more luminous.
I’ve spewed hateful, spiteful words at people I love–something I thought other people were capable of, but not me.
I’ve received a fair share of malice in return–the kind of words and actions that bulldoze your hopes into the dirt to feed the weeds and leave you groping for a shadow of your former self to keep you company.
And, yet, I still see magic in the world and light in others’ eyes.
The more I get to know my own pain, the more easily I see beauty bursting from every nook and cranny.
I do believe life is rainbows and butterflies. And sunsets and mountain peaks and hugs and flower buds.
And heartache and cold winds and waves that crash upon the rocks.
I have felt profoundly alone. Misunderstood. Forgotten.
I am loved.
I have been lied to, stolen from, abused.
People are good.
I have been lost, confused, overwhelmed, and stuck.
Life is pure magic.
Call me young. Call me naive. Call me inexperienced or idealistic or whatever and I swear to you I will be this way until I die.
My Grandma kept her sparkle, and so can I.
I don’t need to be serious to be taken seriously. And, I don’t need to wait for some special age or accomplishment or transcendent outfit to make me worthy of speaking up.
I choose to play outside, wear my bunny hat with pride and remind people what a joy it is to be alive.
Because that is what I am made for.
Don’t confuse growing up with giving up.