Age Of Innocence

I've just noticed, there's never been a major change in my life. What I mean is, there's never been a sudden shift into the real world from my protected haven. It's always been a gradual transition to the next step.

I became self-aware in school ( :D Just watched T3 this afternoon ). And by the time it was, um, well, time, to pass out of school, I was dreading going to college. I wasn't sure what I'd be facing there. I was worried about ragging, studies, being away from home, having to study hard enough to get a job and all those things that come with higher education. It was scary. But it turned out to be easy enough to adapt to it. The fact that I had great friends, both old ones from school and new ones at college, helped. But the change wasn't that profound. It was like school, for the most part, but with more independence and responsibility.

The years passed and I ( like to think that I ) grew more mature. All too soon, it was time to bid adieu to college. A life as a corporate professional beckoned and I eyed it with trepidation as once again I was on the threshold of a transformation that I expected to be life-changing. I was to move to a new city; I would have to manage my own home, my finances, investments, studies, everything. Again, it wasn't so bad; my parents and relatives were there to help me settle down. Work too, wasn't so difficult to get used to, it was mostly study in the beginning and we didn't face as much pressure as I'd feared.

All in all, it has been pretty easy. And I've grown up a bit along the way. But inside I still feel the same. I don't feel like I'm this old. I don't feel like a professional. I don't feel like I'm an adult. I'm doing a few things that make me realize I've grown up like investing in mutual funds and dealing with people who would have otherwise talked to my parents. But it’s still as if I'm looking at real life through bars in a window. Really thick bars. Every now and then I get a glimpse of it. But largely, its hidden from me; and I'm living like I always have. If I look close enough, I can see the changes. But I'm so used to them that they don't stand out otherwise.

And that worries me. It might not always be this easy. I've been lucky so far. But what if the next change isn't this smooth? What if instead of a gradual transformation, it’s an upheaval that destroys all that constitutes my life? And I feel sorry for those who haven’t been as fortunate; who've had no one to support them as they take their first steps across into the big, bad world.
But maybe this is how it’s meant to be. Maybe the age of innocence does just fade away. Slowly. Gradually. And you never realize it till it’s all gone.

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