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Dean of Students

Growing pains: Becoming an adult

ChrisWe are getting to that age where we are about to enter a new stage in our lives, where we settle down with a career and start the “adult” portion of our existence.  I recently changed my major, and because of it I have been in an incredibly reflective mood lately, and it got me thinking,” What will my life look like in five to 10 years?” “Will I be happy?” I’m sure other students have thought about this once or twice, and my vision of my own future scares me a bit.

It might sound cliché, but I think my vision scares me because of one reason: I really do not want to grow up and enter the world of monotony the adult world tends to consist of.

I look at my parents, while I respect them for what they do, I see people who are stuck in a never-ending cycle of tediousness that chips away at their psyche. They never can just take a break because of the everyday burdens that adult life dumps on them. Bills pile up, projects are due for work and they are dreading every minute of it. They worry about the most trivial things that really have no importance in the grand scheme of it all.  I might be sounding a little cynical here, and there are instances where adult life can obviously be rewarding, but from personal experience and observation of other adults, I have come to the conclusion that most of them are just plain fed up.  Their priorities are not straight anymore, and they worry themselves to death about essentially nothing of importance. These adults do not seem happy, and it makes me worried about becoming an adult because I do not want to lead a life similar to this. I do not want to settle for mediocrity, and pretend to be happy about it.

Now, let us compare my bleak vision of the future to the life we currently lead. We are living in a time where many great memories are created, shared and cherished. We are surrounded by all our peers, and have freedom at our fingertips. Yes, college is still hard work, but we are submerged in an environment where so many great people reside, which may never happen again to the same extent. We and our friends will eventually part ways, and life will, frankly, never be the same again.

One of my favorite films, “American Beauty,” discusses the possibility of life after death being a stretch of memories that you relive over your lifetime. What kinds of memories will this infinite stretch consist of? I doubt you will relive the thousands of times you got up for work and half-consciously drove to just to sit behind a desk all day. No, you will relive the times where you and your friends took a road trip for spring break without a care in the world, or how you met your significant other for the first time. You will relive these memories because they were important to you; what gave your life meaning. I fear that adult life will take away these experiences, and I am not ready for that.

I guess it boils down to this: I want the same satisfaction out of my future as I have with my current life. Living an unhappy life does not sound appealing to me, and I’m sure this is a commonly held belief on campus. I worry about adult life,  and paralleling the examples of it I have observed along the way terrifies me. I would rather live every day to the fullest than slave away for the next 80 years.

Chris Chipman is a junior English education major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to dv_cdchipm2@ilstu.edu.

 

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