When I turned three, growing up meant purchasing from the resident ice cream seller in the neighbourhood on my own. I would ask mummy eagerly for a dollar each time I heard the familiar bells and skip my way down the steps, dashing towards the vendor. “Uncle, mixed one!” I would voice with pride. A word of advice— bring your own mug and get an extra scoop.
When I turned seven, growing up meant I could be a millionaire before thirty based on my calculations then. Yes, because saving fifty-cents a day could eventually and potentially lead a lot of money and because I probably didn’t know how many zeros a million contains.
When I turned ten, growing up meant doing my school work with a pen. After years of lead and erasers, I finally get to use ink! O’ the cheap thrills I got whenever I held a pen in my hand. The very action spells R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y to me. Unfortunately, it also meant using lotsa correction fluid (Mummy forbade me to use correction tapes. “Too expensive”, she says).
When I turned (approximately) twelve, growing up meant I can have boobies and I have to wear a bra! It meant that I now exude lovely womanliness and I had to act like a lady. It meant that I had to start worrying about my looks because puberty’s a bitch too. I was constantly starving and fitting myself into tiny dresses.
When I turned fifteen, growing up meant making my own decision to indulge in my interest more seriously at a local singing school. In some way, it felt as if I had thrown myself out of my comfort zone to perform before and interact with strangers. Looking back, it certainly trained me to present myself better and to be more confident.
When I turned sixteen, growing up meant the acquisition of my pink IC (which is now nowhere to be found).
When I turned eighteen, growing up lost its meaning because my world came tumbling down and I lived in darkness. Although I had been accepted into the university and course of my choice, I regretted this choice deeply. I was lost, alone and helpless. But soon, I realized growing up meant sucking it up anyway because in life, you don’t always get what you want.
When I turned twenty, growing up meant realizing what I want in life when I went on my first date with K. It was Happiness. It was about getting back on my feet because I had been living in despair for too long. It was about not shortchanging myself anymore. It was about finding myself back. It was about meeting and chatting till 3am in the morning almost every night. It was about falling madly in love again. It was about being stronger than before because two is better than one.
When I turned twenty-one, growing up meant the celebration of my twenty-first birthday because it symbolizes entry into adulthood. I am now an adult! Which made no sense because I was essentially the same person as the day before (before I became an adult) in and out. Of course, legally, I am now granted various rights, including the right to vote (yet to be exercised).
I am currently twenty-two, going on twenty-three, and graduating. Growing up doesn’t mean anything anymore because I have got everything I have ever dreamt of in my life— all family, friends, love and career. My life has officially come to a standstill and I’m still trying to figure if it’s good or bad.