Age and identity are things I think about a lot, things I struggle with sometimes. Who am I? What do I wanna do? How can I make the most out of the time that I have? How can I be fully in the moment? I like to reminisce one moment and then daydream about my future the next, often completely missing the present. Like most humans I spent most of my childhood wishing I was an adult, and a lot of the last few years wishing I was a kid again. Now I find myself in a kind of limbo, feeling like I’m young, inexperienced and lost while also knowing what I want and craving for knowledge, answers and stability.
“You’re too young to understand,” or “You’ll understand when you’re older,” are phrases I heard a lot growing up. As a curious kid, it was so frustrating. It felt like I was being belittled, not trusted with ‘adult’ or ‘mature’ information. My intelligence threatened by being kept in the dark. As I reflect, I can see why certain things were kept from me whether that meant family ‘secrets’, or facts about life. As I teach kids I see how difficult it is to answer certain questions without skewing their view of the world. Yet there’s a part of me that wishes I could have been told more. Perhaps that would have made me more confident in my knowledge, less doubtful of myself or my abilities. There’s obviously no way for me to know, and I blame absolutely no one for any of it.
Now I’m older, and there’s so much I still don’t know, so much I’ve yet to experience, so much still to learn. I’m okay and actually very excited about it. I used to think I’d get to a certain age and BOOM! All the answers I needed would materialize from thin air right in front of me. Of course that’s not how life works; the learning never ends and everyone, regardless of age is on this very same, yet incredibly personal quest.
Looking back, I didn’t give myself enough credit. I knew a lot more than people assumed. I was and still am in some ways quite intuitive. Adults repeatedly make the bad mistake of underestimating kids' knowledge, perception and understanding of the world. I love having conversations with my little sister and brother. I love being asked questions, and being challenged to find answers that make sense to them. Because the truth is we are never too young to understand, and frankly never too old to learn. Knowledge is not only power, but is empowering and if wielded correctly can take us to unimaginable places.