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Growing up

What it means to me


I woke up on Sept. 28 with dread stirring in my gut. I was almost relieved that my cold symptoms had intensified, for it meant that I could stay home and treat that Saturday as a normal day.Jillian Ramos

Trying to brush aside the significance of the date, I gently pushed myself out of bed (actually pulled myself out of a sleeping bag because my family recently moved) and plodded downstairs.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before one of my parents greeted me with a very enthusiastic, “Happy Birthday, Jillian!” I’d already rehearsed my uncomfortable grimace in my head several times the night before.

I admit that I kind of hate my birthday. Once I got out of the pattern of birthday parties in elementary school, it somehow stopped feeling special.

Even with all of those negative thoughts, this birthday was different. This year, I turned 18.

I know, it’s tragic. As a Tigard resident, I don’t even get to vote on anything this year.

All attempted joking aside, entering adulthood (or what state law deems as adulthood, anyway) is daunting. There’s a transition implied. Somehow, once a person is 18, they’re supposed to be something more, or at least something different.

It’s made me think a lot about the definition of “growing up.” Sure, there are the traditional stepping stones, such as driving and applying for college. As a person, though, what does it mean to grow?

I’ve always been afraid to grow up. Throughout middle school I watched as the teenagers before me got older, and it always looked like they were losing something. I was so scared of that happening to me, so I insisted on staying in a state of blithe, childlike wonder instead.

I’ve come to learn that my only two options are to let that fear control me or fight it.

I know everyone’s supposed to mature, and I intend to. There’s no going back to childhood, and it’d be stupid to try and be the person I was in elementary school.

At the same time, there’s a lot to admire in children; their fear always surrenders to faith in the end.

Maybe growing up means finding a happy medium between accepting the responsibility of adulthood and acknowledging fear, while having enough faith to fight and overcome it. It’s not so much about trying to “be an adult” — it’s just what children do. But maybe it’s more about being OK with being a kid sometimes. Admitting to fear is one of the bravest and most mature actions I’ve ever seen. What makes the difference between a child and someone more grown up is the ability to try and combat it with faith.Jillian Ramos

Not the ignorant, blind faith of a little kid, but the faith of someone who’s lived long enough to know that there’s always something more important than fear, and it’s worth fighting for.

My 18th birthday was just fine. I had a delicious chocolate cake, my friends greeted me in their own way and I got an actual mattress. Sure, I went to bed with the same fears as always: fear of disapproval, failure, rejection. The list goes on.

However, for that one night, safe and secure in my blankets and the affection of those close to me, an idea sparked: Maybe I have something worth fighting for too. Though I still don’t have the words to articulate it, just knowing that it’s there is more than enough.

Jillian Ramos is a senior at Westside Christian High School, and she writes a monthly column for the Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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