Growing pains – I don’t think they call it that anymore. I sip my coffee not to uphold an appearance but to feed my deteriorating body. Insomnia joins my bed with a sign that reads, ‘don't fall asleep during your meeting tomorrow!’ Oh, meetings. With a queue outside my office door and angry emails left unanswered, I leave a small note: Back on Monday.
As I hop on a cab at 5am I ask myself what changed. Sometime between then and now, the driver stopped giving unsolicited life advice. He asks me if I'm on a business trip and I chuckle. Does the driver see me as an adult? Does this bother me? I'm not sure. Though I have never been on a business trip I let him believe otherwise and wiggle out of the back seat. With a hint of bitterness over my generous tip, I am reminded that adults load and unload their own luggage.
So what changed? Not much, given that I still can't afford flights that don't leave before sunrise. I still listen to the same repetitive pop songs, have the same friends, and continue to fly into the same airport within North America to see them. Yet somehow everything has changed. We don't live in dorms anymore and we rarely travel to places by foot. We zip through city chaos in fourth gear, know the best restaurants around, and buy rounds at bars because we sort of have the means. See, everything has changed.
Changes that don't really feel like change -- aren't those what they call growing pains? One day I stopped growing taller. Nothing else came to a halt. One day I hugged my friend goodbye, not knowing it was for the last time. The world didn't stop for us then, either. I must have stopped adding milk to my tea on some rainy day, made drinking a habit on another rainy night, and had uncountable conversations and somethings that led me to purchasing this plane ticket. We see it, we experience it, but we don't notice that click of change in the moment.
Things change so dramatically in your late teens and twenties. It's not the facade of adulthood that stings but what I wished I could have pinpointed sooner. There is and was always time. I was given the space to learn awkwardly, to eat stale bread and spoonfuls of Nutella, to meet, to leave, and to gain lifelong friends with whom together we'd experience these growing pains.