milestones, schmilestones.

I am often amazed when the people around me make life decisions so effortlessly, or at least it seems effortless. This one is buying a house; this one is having a baby. Even refinishing a deck is a marvel of otherworldy knowledge to me.

I had this idea of what it would be like to be a grown up when I was growing up. I imagined great wisdom through balanced checkbooks, picket fences, and a the natural instinct to become a mother and that all these things would happen in my mid-20s. Now I’m passed the mid-20s mark and I’m wondering if any of these things will ever come to pass.

The reality of being an “adult” vs. what I shaped as my definition of being an adult when I was 14 are interesting. Also interesting is how this definition solidified in my mind and stayed with me for this long, even though most of these “milestones” don’t apply to me or my life. Even more interesting to me is how ludicrous the once “sensible” timeline for these things now seems since blowing past the ages I thought fences and babies would come to pass.

Don’t get me wrong–it’s not that I don’t think any of those things are great. I admire my friends who have them and I think these are things I’d like to have someday. But when I think of any of them in my own life… I keep thinking “I’m not there yet.”

My 27th birthday is in a month and a half. I have a pretty good job; I pay all my bills on time; I am married. I am able to keep other living things alive and have managed to keep myself alive. These are all big things for me.

But am I really a “grown up”?

At what point will I stop playing “rent check roulette”? At what point will I stop running 15 minutes late for work, running out with my hair still wet from my morning shower, doing my make up in the car? When will beer stop being an acceptable dinner? When will I just go and get gas instead of having to worry whether or not I’ll have enough gas to get to work and then get to the gas station before breaking down on the side of the road? And does the elimination of these things mean I’ll be an adult?

I don’t have an answer for any of these questions. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I will settle back into being comfortable with not knowing these answers. But until then, I have some things to think about while enjoying my dinner of Lucky 7 Porter.

2 thoughts on “milestones, schmilestones.

  1. I think being a grown-up is more about accepting that the way your life works is good for you (and if it’s not, then making it that way).

    Beer for dinner is, occasionally, absolutely acceptable, especially when you have the knowledge to realise that it may not be the healthiest thing on the planet, but you’re doing it anyway because it’s what you want to do, dammit. And I don’t think anyone’s life is free of ‘will this ever end’ stuff like rent-check roulette.

    Also, as I’m not the most traditional of girls, even today with all the modern ideas of relationships and life etc, I find it really hard to escape from things like the kind of societal idea that says by now, Scott and I should surely be married because we’ve been together so long. I know for me (and us) that it’s just not what we’re doing right now, and I’m totally fine with that, but it’s hard to run away from thoughts of ‘am i doing this right?’ that pop up every now and then, just because of the things people are used to.

  2. It’s a bizarre phenomenom, isn’t it? Now we know what our parents meant when they said, “I still feel like I’m 21.” They didn’t mean physically!

    I think Kate is so right. At 37, I still don’t feel like an adult who is responsible for the lives of 2 children. (Really!? They’re mine? Are you sure I’m not just babysitting?) But as I get older, I get more comfortable with the choices I’ve made and am making and just accept who I am and who we are as a family. And it’s easier to get comfortable with it all.

    It prob’ly took me until, maybe 2 years ago to NOT feel guilty about having a glass of wine or a beer after dinner on a weeknight, because, dammit, I’m an adult and I’m allowed! No rules, except what I make for myself. And societal rules are meaning less as I age.

    Our friend who is a professor at a major university has commented about our situation: my students prob’ly see me the way I used to “see” our professors when we were in college: Like some stuffy professional who does nothing but study, write papers to publish and go to bed by 9pm. Little do they know the stories he could tell about past and current weekend antics!!!

    And that’s like how I viewed my parents when I was 10 and my mom was maybe 40. She knew everything and could do it all. And now I’m in that same place. I know nothing!! My mom knew nothing!! Holy shit! How do I do this?!?

    I’ve been a nurse for 14 years and I STILL don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

    When does growing up happen? Maybe it happens at 40. Maybe I’m just shy of it and that’s why I have some insight, yet am still not completely convinced…

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