Does maturity have an age? Can you point out the... a grown-up? People say that maturity comes with experience and... Natalia Kolganova 04/16/2007

Natalia Kolganova
The Biggest challenge in my life
Does maturity have an age? Can you point out the exact moment when you have become
a grown-up? People say that maturity comes with experience and till some point you are wearing
pink glasses of childhood. If you want to see the world in a full spectrum of colors, move to New
York – the school of a real life. I did so 2 years ago and that was the moment when I realized that
I was not a child any more. Moving to New York totally changed my life, put it upside-down. I
faced so many problems that I could not even imagine before. The greatest challenge for me was
and still is being on my own.
At the time I came to the city of a Big Apple I had nobody here – no friend, no family.
There was just one girl (my friend’s sister-Julia) whom I only talked before on the phone and
whom I met just when I came to New York. That girl helped me to start my life from the
beginning. She was the one who helped me to find a job and a place to live; she introduced me to
couple of Russian girls, one of which is my closest friend at the moment. Julia did all her best to
help me in everything. The only problem at that time was that she used to live very far, so it was
very difficult for us to maintain our friendship.
The first month in the city was pretty exciting: I met a lot of new people, had a change to
travel to other states, I enjoyed the night life of Manhattan (new clubs, new boyfriends, new
friends, everything was new). However, that happy time did not last long. Very soon I realized
that New York was not a fairy tale like I thought before, and you have friends here till the
moment you have no problems or as long as they can use somehow. But as soon as you face a
small difficulty, you look around and see nobody. I was on my own when I was trying to rent a
new apartment, trying to get a new job, trying to transfer to college. There was nobody around to
help and to give an advice. I could not even call home to talk to my Mom when I wanted because
of an 8 hours time difference. I can say for sure, that this is the worst when you fill like you are
the only person in the whole world.
I used to have a lot of friends in Russia, and there was one girl whom I considered to be
my soul mate, my personal twin. The first half a year of my being in New York we used to call
each other almost every day, talking for hours. But at this particular moment I can not even
remember the day of our last conversation. I feel that I have lost a small part of me.
Going through all these difficulties I realized how life in New York changed me. I do not
feel my twenties, I am much older inside. Trying to compare myself to the girls who still live
with their parents in Russia, do not work, do not have to worry about anything, just go to college
and enjoy there life, I come to the conclusion that in spite of the fact that we are the same age,
our level of maturity is very different.
Looking back and analyzing my two years in the USA I can say that they were the
hardest in my life. Nevertheless, if you ask me, whether I want to change them or not, my answer
will be “NO”. I am always trying to look at all my problem and difficulties from the optimistic
point of view. Right now my life is a struggle and this is exactly what makes me a strong person.
New York has transformed me from a naïve girl to a mature woman and I am thankful for that.