Growing up as the youngest sibling meant winning every argument–if my mom had anything to do with it. It meant getting out of chores, being a “golden child,” living freely and most importantly, it meant constant excuses to be immature and goofy. Being my mom’s “favorite” has gotten me out of trouble too many times to count, but I think my puppy dog eyes are out of luck for the battle of growing up.

I felt so unstoppable as a child, but now all I want to do is crawl into a hole anytime someone mentions their future. Seeing my peers and family grow up around me leaves me feeling obligated to mature at their speed. Granted, I would probably feel this way even if I wasn’t the youngest, but it adds to the frustration to see everyone around me make growing up seem so easy.

If my parents did not have such high hopes for me to be successful, I wouldn’t feel the pressure as harshly. As much as I want to do them justice, I am barely passing my math tests, let alone figuring out my life. Adults make the process seem so effortlessly smooth, but I can’t hide that I am terrified. 

Just having turned 17-years-old, I feel the need to get a job, car and even stabilize my savings account before I graduate. The stress of this expectation has left me utterly unmotivated. I can’t stand to hear anybody else’s future plans while I am struggling to control mine. It seems that all anyone wants to talk about nowadays is college, ACTs or taxes–but I swear, if somebody asks me about a job again, I might consider locking myself away.

While most “normal” people my age aren’t too concerned about their future, I have found myself in a hurricane of thoughts trying to decipher how I should be pacing myself. Between my friends who have yet to find jobs or my siblings who have rent and bills due, how am I supposed to feel secure with this great divide? It seems inevitable to hold onto my youth when the people I spend the most time around gave childhood up ages ago.

While every bone in my body knows that I can do great things, the back of my mind is taunting me to figure things out now. A future version of myself won’t be able to bare my mother’s pitty smiles during family dinners or constant questions about if I figured things out at 25. The power I had while I was younger doesn’t mean anything in this period of my life. It will be a while before these puppy dog eyes get back in action, but I’m not certain I will want them by the time it happens.

What’s the easiest sibling role?