Never grow up

News/feature editor discusses her struggles with growing up


Verna Mann

News/feature editor Bethany Mann’s (front) best friend is her sister, former editor-in-chief Rebekah Mann (back). Rebekah is a freshman in college, and Bethany continues to struggle being the only child in the house.

Bethany Mann, News/Feature Editor

My entire life I’ve known one thing; I’m a member of the United Methodist Church. But in the past few years, the identity that I’ve grown up with has slowly faded, and in a few months, it will be gone.

As United Methodist Churches across the United States vote to leave the denomination, my church is soon to follow suit, and the reality of my inevitable change as I grow up has finally come to light. Except, I don’t want to grow up.

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from a ballet audition when I looked in my rearview mirror at the car behind me. It was my classmate driving. A boy I’ve known since I was five years old is now sharing the road with me, and then it hit me; kindergarten was 10 years ago, but it feels like yesterday. 

I recently started working in my church nursery, and the shift I most often work puts me in Sunday school classrooms during worship. Many of the kids will tell me about how they’re learning multiplication and division. They’ve started learning alliteration and basic parts of speech with a total of two homework assignments a week, and it all feels so familiar. But, I don’t get the luxury of a free weeknight like they do.

Instead, I’m long dividing polynomials and writing literary analysis over “Antigone.” I stress over a 95 and constantly fear my class rank will drop. And – as I’m writing this – I’ve realized I did not italicize “Antigone” in my essay, and now, I’m worrying I did not get a 100 because of a little mistake. And for what? Why do I put this pressure on myself?

We’re told these are the best days of our lives, but I don’t believe that. Because to have the “best days of our lives” we’d have to live in the moment, and we don’t. From day one, we’ve always wished for the future. We wondered what it would be like to walk the halls of the high school when we came to football games and what it would be like to drive. We imagined being old enough to study at the library with friends and what our future significant other would look like. But, the future’s here now, and all that time we wasted worrying about our lives at this moment can’t be taken back – because time doesn’t stop moving.

I wish I could go back to playing with Barbie dolls and watching “Hannah Montana.” I wish I could go back to competing in recorder karate and reading “Dork Diaries.” I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying about the future.

And now as I’m losing my identity as a member of the UMC, my life is undeniably changing, and I can’t control it. No matter how hard I try, I can’t stay the same.

The seconds on the clock are ticking, and I feel like I’m slowly watching my youth fade away.