When you are young, life is fairly simple. Mom and Dad are mean. They never give you a n y t h i n g. Your sister is mean too, Nazi-Germany type mean. She makes you clean your room. Your brothers break the heads off your Barbie dolls just for spite. Your dog doesn't even like you.
You can't wait to drive. The keys are hot in your hands that first time out and you're shaking inside with impending freedom. You can't wait to go on a date. A first official date. You love loud music and dancing until you're sweaty. You can spend hours just hanging out with your friends doing nothing at all. That cute boy you've loved for who-knows-how-long might just like you back and that makes you tingle/cry/shiver with fear.
Life is amazing and full of prospects. When you leave home, everything will change. All these stupid kids with their kid ideas will mean nothing. They'll be nothing in a pool of more nothings. And you'll be something. Just wait and see. You'll make more money than Mom and Dad ever did and if you have kids, your kid will NEVER wear hand-me-downs or get things they need for Christmas. They will always have their gloves on their hands (because you will have spares to replace the losts at all times) and snow pants and extra puffy jackets. You won't force them to wear itchy thermal underwear while sledding. It will all be different.
When you're young, bills are like butterflies that flutter away in springtime.
When you're young, dreams don't pop like soap bubbles.
When you're young, the world is wide open to explore.
Now that you're old, Mom and Dad are pretty nice. Sometimes they don't say exactly what you want to hear, but you understand where they are coming from at least. You realize they gave you e v e r y t h i n g they possibly could, and more. Your sister is practically a saint, she has been known to clean your house for you while insisting you go sit down. Your brother's do stuff for you that you can't do yourself (even though there are still chairs sitting on your back porch that they haven't picked up - wait, that's another story). You actually kind of like them and you only think about the headless Barbie dolls with fondness. Your dog likes you too much and won't leave you alone.
You are sick of driving everyone everywhere. Some days the car is practically devil-spawn. Other days it is freedom itself. You relish rolling the windows up and cranking the heat instead of the radio. Sometimes the radio too. You wish you could just go out on one date with your husband. Alone. People play their music too loud and you hate being sweaty. You can spend hours just sitting in your chair doing nothing because it is quiet, at last. That cute boy you've loved for who-knows-how-long is your son and he's almost old enough to date and you're completely terrified.
Life is exhausting and full of decisions. All the things that used to matter so much are laughable. All these stupid kids with their kid ideas mean nothing, although somehow their jabs still hurt. Sometimes you aren't sure if you are nothing or something. Time will tell. You make more money than you planned to but everything costs MORE. Your kids wear hand-me-downs and you finally gave in and bought socks for Christmas. Their gloves and snow pants and puffy jackets are all lost/torn/dirty. You say "I told you so" when they complain how cold they are from sledding. It is all different.
When you're old, bills are like lead weights that crush you.
When you're old, dreams taste more like realities.
When you're old, the world is wide open to explore but you don't have the time (or energy) to reach out.
It's all so very wonderful anyhow.