Courage to Grow (용기와 노화)

Less than two weeks ago I turned 28. My birthday was a quiet one this year. No birthday cake or evening celebration, just a quiet one with family for the first time in a while. Being a simple birthday this year gave me the chance to look back and reminisce about my louder, splashier, and more sweeter summer birthdays. Birthdays full of cheer and joy. Birthdays where age was just a number. Birthdays where I was excited for the new year ahead. Birthdays when I was one year older to being all grown up. Recalling these birthdays of my past, recently brought to light a new reality for me as a 28-year-old.  A fear of losing time.

Since I turned 26 back in 2014, I started thinking more about my time or life span I guess you can say. But, really it wasn’t until I turned 27 last year that I started planning out my adult life more concretely. However, upon turning 28 two weeks ago, I started succumbing to an elevated fear of aging too fast, losing time, and dying early in life. These worries seemed to have crept into my life overnight, and arisen I feel due to my further incline into adulthood. As a semi self-sufficient adult I have amassed more reasons to live in the last two years. More reasons to want to live not just for a year more or two, but for thirty, forty, or even sixty more years if lucky. My newfound fears/worries bring to light not only my age, but my acknowledgement of fully growing up mentally. In truth growing up takes time both mentally and physically. As a child growing up is just another phase in life. But, as an adult growing up means taking hold of your life.

Unlike adulthood, growing up for children has fewer mental stimulants. For children age is just another number. Sometimes a number that they like, and sometimes a number that they don’t. Similarly, birthdays are celebrated and well-received as times when children receive cake, sweets, and presents. During this phase children do not count or measure time. For them, childhood is a timeless era much to be enjoyed. In my opinion, parents try the utmost to have their children stay in this phase of life because they want their children to remain inside a timeless era and live care free.

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Out in Gapyeong,Gyeonggi-do, Korea – Spring 2015

Time, however, catches up with all of us as time is a constant measurement in our lives.  As children (*based on certain countries child upbringings) we fail to measure or even notice time.  By default children do not fear reaching a new age, growing up, or death. Children  are protected from fears of reaching a new age and growing up because these events in life are celebrated by their family as special moments in their lives, with the exception of death.  I can remember the feelings I had felt when I was little girl and my birthday was around the corner. I felt elated, thrilled, and happy to receive cakes, sweets, and presents on my birthday. But, those feelings have faded away as I’ve aged.

As an adult now I feel as though I am losing my courage to continue grow. I realized that my loss of courage is due to rising fears. As mentioned earlier I’ve begun to feel fearful of losing time. Since I have entered into my late twenties growing up has become more nerve-wracking than joyful. I have gained so much in the last few years: a new love, a new career focus, and new future dreams. In gaining so much I realized that I have so many unfinished things to lose. While this may sound like unjustified worrying it is realistic thinking as an adult to worry about your life or what some would say life existence.

Turning 28 I feel more like an adult. With that feeling I fear the fate of my life. Ultimately, I fear not being able to have enough time to do things in my life presently, in the next few years, and in the future. My rising fears bring to light the uncertainties of life overall for us. These uncertainties make us human beings conscientious of valuing time. Since my birthday I have begun valuing my time.  I also have tried to focus on making each and everyday special in my life, in small or large ways and for each and every life goal.

I want to make each day in my life count and not be wasted because time is not limitless as it may seem for children. For adults, living a good, long, and fulfilled life before death is what we want most.  I am sure it is what any one of us would want. In my case, I fear the uncertainty of not being able to live a long fulfilled life because our time on Earth is undetermined. Yet, I have come to terms with the adult fear of growing and aging.  Growing, aging, and death cannot be stopped. They are natural physics in life just as time.  With that said I’ve come to understand that my fears of time, growing, and aging  might increase with each new year or might not.  It really all depends on how I utilize the time that I possess to try to fully live my life.

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Rainy Bday – Summer, 2016





*Note: All pictures posted are owned by the Yeppunshikan author, usage of these pictures without the owners consent is strictly prohibited.


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