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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

When I was seven years old, I put my finger on the bulb inside of my lamp, despite my mother telling me not to. The bulb was yellow and bright and of course being told not to touch it made it all the more irresistible. I learned a valuable lesson that day: very hot things suck. They can burn you. And you definitely want to avoid touching them.

At about the same time, I had made another significant finding. Occasionally, when there was a birthday or a holiday, my parents would treat me to a can of pop. If paradise existed in my seven-year-old brain, it had been found. I always looked forward to its cold, sugary goodness.

There was also a third overarching lesson happening. A basic lesson—one so clear that we don’t recognize it when it occurs. It was a lesson considerably more important than the other two: drinking a can of pop is better than being burnt.

That may not seem profound, but it is. It’s a value judgment. Pop is preferable to scorching light bulbs. I would rather have liquid sweetness on my tongue than a little bit of fire on my finger. It’s identifying a preference and ensuing prioritization. It’s the understanding that certain things in the world are desirable and some are not, and as a result, all future decisions will take that knowledge into account.

This is the responsibility of little children—to explore ceaselessly. To become aware of their surroundings, to decide what feels good and what doesn’t, and then to build structures of value based on this understanding.

I’m turning 23 in five months. 143 days from this moment, to be exact. There was a time when I looked at a number like that and felt the fullness of time, but while I sit here writing about being seven years old, time seems less full. I’m reminded of adulting, and just how painful the growing pains can be. The real world is rearing its terrifying head, and as things become increasingly complicated, our brains start to shift their attention from the simplicities of deciding what we like and don’t like, to creating principles that will guide us through it, and to be in a constant state of attempting to accept and navigate the intricacies of growing up.

There are few things in life that I’m absolutely sure of. First, change is inevitable. Second, growing up is not linear, nor is it a destination you simply reach one day. I look at my mother sometimes and remember that she’s still growing up too. Doing life for the first time.

Somewhere along the lines of aging and scrutiny and time, I’ve also found comfort in the aspects of life that we can rely on, those that stay constant despite the world’s perpetual shifts. It can be so consoling when it comes to the uncertainty that surrounds us. In the midst of turmoil, these constants serve to ground us and give us a sense of peace. However, even those constants are subject to change.

I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with isn’t so much when those constants are no longer present, but when we learn that we ourselves are what has outgrown what we thought was endless. That’s something that I’ve had more trouble with than I care to admit. But the thing that I love most about this life is that there will always be situations that you think you won’t be able to get past, but you always do.

Marian Keyes once said, “I think there is pressure on people to turn every negative into a positive, but we should be allowed to say, ‘I went through something really strange and awful and it has altered me forever’.” Since finding this I’ve used it as a tool in my life, especially with regard to getting older and being so unsure of what I’m doing and how to feel. I think if you take anything from this, it should be that life doesn’t have to be as rigid as we think. Life doesn’t ask much of us. All that it wants is for us to experience.

I would have loved nothing more than to write an article that had all the answers. That I could tell all of you reading this that there’s a hidden secret to making it through unscathed, and I’ve found it. But I can’t, and I haven’t. The thing is, I think the only comfort I’ve found is knowing that every person is growing up. As cliché as it sounds, we’re all just figuring it out as we go, and I think perhaps the best way to come to terms with adulting is to try and start simplifying it again. Drinking a can of pop is better than being burnt.

Logan Nikki

Queen's U '23

My name is Logan Nikki, I'm a graduate student with a degree in Sociology and a certificate in Media Studies. I'm passionate about music, literature, film, and art. Currently, in pursuit of wholeness rather than perfection.