In a little less than a month I turn 22 years old (which is like way too long in Planck time). In the grand scheme of things that really isn't that old. The average US male lives to about 76 years old so I still have a ton of years (hopefully) ahead of me. The weird thing about birthdays though is that it's really hard to notice all the changes that happen throughout the year. It's almost like leveling up in a video game. The higher you get in levels the less you remember the things it took to get there. You just know you need to keep going to get to the next level.
Change can mean many different things, it depends on who you ask. I tend to notice the sudden, dramatic changes much more than the slow, gradual changes. Scoliosis is a great example. Around the age of 15 my mom noticed that my back was kind of fucked up. After a doctor's visit I learned that my spine was around 22 degrees. 4 years later it was at 54 degrees. A slow, gradual change that I didn't notice. However, I did notice the brace that I wore for a year and then the surgery that was performed to try and correct the issue almost 2 years ago. Those were the sudden, dramatic changes. Obviously my surgery was scheduled for a specific date. I knew about the surgery a little over 6 months before it happened. I had time to think about it, I had time to prepare. But sometimes I think no matter how much you prepare you can never truly be ready for some changes.
I really like spring, not as much as other seasons (yes, there are only 4, I don't have a definitive favorite), but it reminds me of when I played golf in high school (back in the day, only 4 years ago). Right after school being able to play a game I loved was great. Playing golf after school was really practicing golf after school, I wasn't that great but the point of practice was to make performing less stressful. If you practice so much it becomes second nature then you really don't need to worry when you actually need to perform. But I always got somewhat nervous. You don't get second chances when you're on the first tee, and my drives were always iffy. I always worried about messing up my drives on the first hole, which is when everyone is watching. Most of the time I did fine. Sometimes I messed up, and it sucked, but I never gave up and I always kept trying to get better.
Growing up sucks, growing up is great, growing up is scary. There are a bunch of changes that go along with it. There are some things you can change to your advantage, there are somethings you really can't do anything about at all. I'm still trying to learn that that is OK. It can be hard to not react to certain things. You can pour your heart and soul into something and in the end it may not even matter. And that's OK. You tried your best, you learned from the experience. But that's what you tell yourself later on. In the moment you may be hurt, frustrated, angry, upset. And that's also OK. Emotions suck, they cause you to do things you never thought you would do, and I think that's part of being human.
One of the best (maybe worst if you hate people) parts about growing up is that you continually meet new people. I read somewhere that faces in dreams are never made up. They are faces that you've seen in real life, even in passing. You may pass a ton of unique people everyday. You may only interact with a few of those people in a day. You may only get to know one or two of those people per week. And you may only become friends with some of those people a few times a month or even a few times a year. As things change you become closer to some people and grow farther apart from others. People move, people change, people travel, the interactions between people are ever changing. I'm extremely lucky to have a handful (a bushel?) of people I can interact with on a daily basis. Things will change, as they always do, but hopefully those changes don't push me too far away from the bushels of people I meet and call friends.
I think the scariest part of growing up is the fact that some changes stay with you forever. People sometimes wish they retained their childlike innocence. Does living life really just take that away from people? Either sudden or slowly over time they lost that innocence. Sometimes I say that I'm actually 12 years old. I mainly say this because when I first saw a doctor about my scoliosis he said my bone age was that of a 12 year old, I was 15 at the time. If that is still the case I'm 19 I guess. I really hope my scoliosis age and my real age never meet each other. I still want to believe in silly childlike fantasies, like becoming an astronaut, or traveling the world, or meeting somebody I truly care about, or riding too many rollercoasters to count, or designing a super awesome game. It's OK if none of those happen but I never want to believe those aren't possible.