Smirl Meets World: Growing Up

It’s my favorite time of year: October. (Usually) the weather hits that sweet spot where it’s not too cold or hot, but just the perfect temperature to throw on a sweater and jeans and be perfectly comfortable, the leaves are changing, and when I was younger, I used to spend my weeks around this time of year deciding on the absolute perfect Halloween costume. However, I realized this October that I hadn’t even noticed it was this most wonderful time of the year until the second or third week. Now, we’re a week away from October being over, and my highlights include the one weeknight I got to go to sleep before midnight and the one day of weather where it wasn’t eighty degrees and it wasn’t barely thirty either. Today, as I sat down to write this column I realized this is what growing up feels like, in a naïve and juvenile sense. Yes, I’m not noticing monumental changes or even feel like a “real” adult yet, but now I’m planning out time to accompany my nieces on trick or treat in between doing homework, writing research papers, and scheduling classes for next semester.

In high school, I thought I knew what stress was on the few nights where I procrastinated too much and had to stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning to get all of my work done. Yet, even when I’m doing my homework on time, I seem to still always have something to do, whether it’s schoolwork, actual work, social commitments, or just time I need with friends and family. Now, the time I get to spend enjoying my favorite month of the year is usually while I’m reading something for class with a warm cup of coffee instead of an iced one, or the moment I take to appreciate the fact that I can wear a sweatshirt early in the morning to class instead of having to dig up shorts and t-shirts. No, I’m not spending every evening carving pumpkins, binging scary movies, making cookies and hot chocolate, or just enjoying this time of year that I have always loved so much. I’m realizing more and more as this year progresses that a lot more has changed in my life than I initially thought, and that can be its own scary movie in and of itself. So, as October comes to a close, I am sad that I didn’t get to spend it how I usually would have, but I also am excited knowing that this year is going by a lot faster than I thought it was going to, but I seem to be doing okay at the whole growing up part so far.

Rileigh Smirl can be contacted at [email protected]