I went to an event center recently and of course ended up at the wrong door. I also didn’t pay for parking which made me feel extremely guilty because at a big event like a Comic Con you’re supposed to follow the rules, like paying the $5 for parking and wearing an extremely revealing outfit if you are female. I’m pretty sure males are supposed to follow the parking rules too but you never know.
Anyway, as I stood around I started to realize I wasn’t in the right place because I wasn’t seeing the appropriately geeky people. I saw parents and their 10-12 year old kids carrying Popsicle stick bridges. It appeared that I had stumbled upon some sort of school competition where kids had built these contraptions to pit against one another. Or something. I don’t know exactly what it was but judging by the angst of the kids as they exited the building, it was a stressful situation. One girl in particular summed it up for me. As she passed, I heard her say to her parents, “We’re not in college yet! We’re not architects yet!” She was obviously upset and I could only assume her bridge did not perform well in whatever trials were going on in there.
Her complaint touched me. You know why? Because she sounded exactly like me. I spent a good bit of time railing against the pressure of the school system. I went through the AP track beginning in 5th grade. I know how hard it is and how much they expect out of these young kids. It ages you. But it makes you strong too. If everything had been easy in school and I hadn’t had to hold up under ever increasing (sometimes even unreasonable) demands, I would never have survived this tax season. This one was particularly rough because of all the extra drama and if not for all the times I said, “How can they expect this? We’re not adults!” in my youth, I would have cracked under the pressure.
So my message to you, Little Girl With Bridge, is this: Be thankful for these times. They’re what make you who you are. It doesn’t get easier. When you grow up, the storms don’t stop. You just need to know who you are in the storms.