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When you’re a kid, you might hear the phrase “growing up too fast.” I don’t know about you, but when I heard those words, I always associated them with dressing “older,” partying, having a boyfriend and wearing makeup. Since this was my definition, I didn’t think that I grew up too fast, but looking back on it, I do feel like I gave up on certain aspects of my childhood a bit too soon. 

A few days ago, I was looking at my old Ever After High Dolls. I remember getting my Cerise Hood doll when I was in sixth grade, and just feeling so embarrassed buying it. I was about 12, which means I was still a child — but I felt like I was too old to be playing with dolls. But also, she was just so pretty, and I really wanted her.

This got me thinking: why was I so embarrassed about buying a toy when I was still a child?

I've always had a bit of an odd relationship with my age. I grew up always feeling like I was older than I really was. I don’t really know if it was because at school, our teachers always expected a certain “maturity” from us, or if it was because I was always labeled as being “mature for my age.” There’s also the fact that until I was 15, everyone always thought I looked older than I really was. If I was seven, people said I looked 10; if I was 10, people thought I looked 13, and so on.

But, as I’ve grown up, I can’t help but feel like I gave up on some of childhood’s simplest aspects, and it’s hard to understand why. Are we subconsciously pressured to grow up faster? Or did I just think I wouldn’t be “cool” if I acted my age? It’s complicated, and to be fair, I don’t have a concrete answer. 

Even though most people say you’re a teenager when you turn 13, I didn’t think so — I felt like an older child, really, but I felt awkward doing things like playing with dolls or watching cartoons. It was as if I shouldn’t do that anymore because I was now too old. It's a complex spot. In reality, I shouldn’t have felt that way. It was harmless kid stuff, and I should’ve been the only person deciding if I was ready to outgrow those things.

Looking back on it, I should’ve just done what I wanted to do without feeling so self-conscious. Everyone grows up at a different pace, and I was clearly not fully ready to step into my teenage years, but I also felt like I had to start cutting ties with my childhood. 

It feels like that again, now that I'm about to turn 20 in less than two weeks. I’m officially about to be a young adult, but I still don’t feel quite ready to take on every aspect of adulthood. If anything, I should be allowed to go at my own pace and go on the path I find best suited for me.

Ana Sofía Saavedra is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, majoring in advertising and public relations. She likes to spend her time watching YouTube commentary on pop culture, making bracelets and headbands, and obsessing over books.
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