On Growing Up

On Growing Up

Sunnina Chen, Op-Ed Editor

Last week, I had the option to go out. It was a Friday night. Unfortunately, I already had plans scheduled for a while that I was really looking forward to. My planner read something like this:

3PM Get groceries from Trader Joe’s

4PM Buy car freshener from Target

5PM Go to the gym

7PM Fold laundry and watch Mad Men

Now, I just want to preface: I am a huge extrovert. I love going out and screaming and dancing and singing and meeting new people. I didn’t actively plan to stay at home this Friday. There were just things I needed to do that fell into place time-wise. Domestic chores. But a little part of me was absolutely ecstatic to drive to Target. Maybe, if I was good on time, I could treat myself to some bubble tea or Starbucks. Or kombucha. I was giddy just thinking about it.

Hold up. 

What am I saying? I am in the middle of college applications, in my teenage years, with abundant future opportunities to go out and dance and be loud. I have so much to look forward to, and I always have. But why is it folding laundry that excites me? I spend time with my friends, but being alone and doing whatever the heck I want is calling my name. I’m not scared of being alone, but looking forward to it. No one can tell me I should be in bed by now. No one can tell me how many vegetables to eat. No one can tell me to wear a jacket, even if it’s freezing cold outside and hailing and below zero, because I won’t wear one if I don’t want to!! 

These past two years, I found my peace in little tasks. I realized how much happiness the insignificant aspects of life bring me, rather than huge gestures. Sure, I can be a part of an amazing musical like Chicago and put on three days of thrilling performances. But what I remember is getting pizza for late-night rehearsals; seniors who joke with the whole cast, even the freshmen; putting on ridiculous fishnet stockings over regular stockings. I used to pity those who are retired; poor souls, what do they even do with their lives now? What can they even do? Now, I pity myself. What freedom the retired have! They can travel the world or sit on their butts at home watching Wheel of Fortune eating baked potatoes, it’s all up to them. As I get a little older everyday, there are more and more things I can do. Like browsing Trader Joe’s (have you seen that “new items” shelf?), or going to a spin class.  

And honestly, I’m kind of having a good time.