The Older We Get, The Older We Need to Be


“I literally don’t have enough time.” This message will float through the walls of every high school.


When we were ten years old, it seemed like we didn’t have enough time. There wasn’t enough time to go to the beach and play with our friends and bake cookies with our grandparents and go bowling. We felt overwhelmed by the amount of fun we wanted to fit into our schedules.


Most people in their late teens don’t have time for any of those things. Our weekdays are spent at school, our evenings are working, and our nights are choosing between eating, sleeping, or finishing the assignments due the next day. Even our weekends are overrun by excessive homework and 8-hour shifts; maybe squeezing in a trip to the mall with our friends or using studying as a social event. In any case, I’ve never heard a teenager complain about having too much free time.


But for what? Our parents tell us we have our whole lives to work, to take the classes we enjoy, worry when we’re old and have fun while we don’t have to pay the bills. Yet that seems like such a foreign concept. If we don’t take the important classes that give us hours of homework every day, how will we have a future? How will we get into the best universities? If we don’t work after school or on the weekends, how will we pay for the opportunities we work so hard for? Or keep up with the technology we need to do so? 


How can we not worry when every single test could lower our grades by the 4% that doesn’t get us into the program we believe will start our career? How can we not be stressed when food becomes an inconvenient break instead of something to look forward to, and physical activity seems impossible to schedule?


High school should be a time for friends, dating, figuring out what you want to do in life, making mistakes, having fun and enjoying your few free years before responsibility kicks in. Instead, anyone driven by what the future holds is burning themselves out faster than they can drink coffee in an attempt to keep up with the world. It seems that the older we get, the older we need to act and seem. 


No matter how much we try to compensate, everything seems out of our control. No matter how much older we act – through second jobs and sleepless nights – the more it seems that we still have more to do, and the more it seems we still need more time. No matter how much we push ourselves, it seems that nothing will ever be enough. The older that we get, the older we need to be.