There are many checkpoints in life that we believe we must pass to feel mature. In elementary school, it was being able to walk home from school alone. In Middle school, it was finally being allowed to go shopping on my own. And for high school, let’s be honest, the main checkpoint is sexual maturity. I have always thought that these life events made us feel like we are closer to becoming adults. Each time I have reached each checkpoint, however, I have felt lost once again. As we grow older, we learn to understand that thoughts of our parental figures we once interpreted as incontrovertible, are actually open to imperfection.

A lot of exciting things can end in disappointment –  that’s just life. In 3rd grade, I was dying to get the chance to talk to the 5th graders. To my 3rd grade mind, such a chance seemed as special as talking to a celebrity. I was filled with envy because they got to have an extra long lunch and four P.E. classes per week. Four per week! I always smelled their coolness and heard the occasional bassy voice.

There was this one time when I tried to talk to Owen.

“Hi,” my voice quivered.

No response.

“Owen,”  I called out. This time, he turned around, looking right over my head. Now I was even more intrigued about finally getting to talk to one of those 5th graders. I thought if I did, I’d be making a big leap forward.

I rode the bus every day after school to get to daycare. Our rumbling yellow transport tumbled through neighborhoods like a rollercoaster. The 5th graders always sat in the back, packed together. This time, though, I saw one with a vacant spot next to him! I couldn’t believe it!  But that didn’t matter; what did was that I was finally able to sit next to a 5th grader! I was super-excited to start talking to him.

“Hi, my name is Phillip. Want to be friends?” my voice was slightly shaking as it rose to a soprano pitch with anticipation.


“Do you have Pokemon cards?”

“I’m not 8.”

A huge punch hit my stomach. My excitement had been shattered like a mirror. I sat quietly for the rest of the ride. I was so disappointed. Fifth graders weren’t what they had seemed to be. Now I look back and chuckle to myself, even though I will never forget the sheer disappointment that struck me. There I was, feeling lost again. I had just felt the disappointment of passing a checkpoint.