I was talking to some friends today while doing my weekly school volunteer stint, about what it is like to be an adult. We weren’t being particularly serious or philosophical. Mostly joking about how we used to yearn to be an adult, and how the things we saw adults do seem magic. We used to want to drive the car. Now its a chore. And we didn’t realize what it meant to pay the bills.
With all of this responsibility, you’d think we felt like adults. But the thing is, we’re the same kids we used to be, we just have to do all this stuff! There was no line that said: now I am grown up. And it’s hard.
I moved out of the house. Nope, not grown up yet because I’m just taking care of myself, barely. Going to school, don’t have a house, still get care boxes that have food and money and my easter present tucked into them.
I got married. Not grown up yet, because I’m still in school and we’re just renting, and I still like ketchup on my eggs.
I got pregnant and had a kid. You’d think this should make me grown up, because now my husband and I are entirely responsible for a child. But we don’t know what the heck we’re doing and we’re scared. Excited and happy, but really feeling our ignorance and lack of experience right now.
More children, now they’re going to school, we bought a house… And somewhere in there, I became an adult. Maybe it was when I realized I disagreed with how the local school system thought I should educate my child. And when I did find a good school system, and realized I was older than some of my kids’ teachers. A lot of me identifying as an adult was when I had to interact with other adults on behalf of my child.
More recently, the last person in my grandparents’ generation died. I have an aunt who has passed away as well, from complications of a stroke. My parents are grandparents of a college aged child. I’m the parent of that child.
But still, sometimes, we joke that we’re just pretending to be adults so that our children, and maybe other adults, will respect us. We’re competent, we can do the things expected of us and that we need to do. But the child we were never left. It just learned how to do all the grown up things. We looked behind the curtain and found the wizard, who was really an eccentric with a lot of machines. And now we’re the ones behind the curtain, pushing the buttons and pulling on the levers.