Is age really just a number?
Or is there more to growing up than that number increasing by one each year?
I mean, I know there is but have you ever tried to actually put your finger on it?
Mentally, 30 has always been a big milestone for me – the time at which I would finally be a ‘proper’ adult. I put this down to the fact that my mother had her first child at 30. This became my benchmark and I spent my teens and twenties aiming for children by 30. Surely, once I had children, I would feel like an adult…
I don’t like to dwell on what I might have missed out by making this arbitrary goal my focus for so long. I wish I’d had this post to read many years ago.
As it happened, I had my son just before I turned 30. For me, becoming a mother felt more of a milestone than reaching 30, but that may be because on my thirtieth birthday my son was 16 days old and I was recovering from an emergency C-section. I don’t think I really had the time, energy or headspace to process it.
An approaching birthday often prompts me to take stock, and as my thirty-third birthday looms I’ve been thinking about life and how I got to be where I am.
I was at a 40th birthday party for a friend of my partner’s over the summer and I remember sitting with some of the women thinking; they’re so mature – they’re married, they have houses and kids, wow.
It’s like that quote about looking for a more ‘adultier’ adult before realising that I am, in fact, an adult myself. I’m a parent, a homeowner and I’m in a committed relationship.
…you look for an older adult, someone successfully adulting…an ‘adultier’ adult.someecards.com
How did that happen?
A lot of the time, I just don’t feel mature enough for it all! As much as I may feel like it, I’m not 22 anymore (anyone else sing Taylor Swift whenever they hear the word ‘twenty-two’ spoken aloud?!).
Another saying that comes to mind when I think about this is the oft-quoted ‘fake it ‘till you make it’. Do you ever feel like you’re just pretending to be a functioning adult until you truly become one?
And, more importantly, does this feeling ever go away?!
So what is it that truly makes us adults? I know there are legal definitions based on age, but what other intangible things truly make us grown-ups?
Is it being able to cook? No longer finding toilet humour funny? If this is the case, a lot of people I know aren’t actually adults…
Or is it about being responsible – earning money, paying bills, cleaning the bathroom and keeping on top of the laundry?
Perhaps, like success, adulthood is defined differently by each of us.
Adulting: what is it, to me?
For me, adulthood can be summarised as finally accepting that which I cannot change whilst focusing on making my own small corner of the world better.
It is raising my son to be kind, thoughtful, caring and socially conscious.
It is supporting and loving my partner, to the best of my ability.
And above all, it is trying each day to love myself.
These things are all a work in progress and I expect they will be for the rest of my life.
I suppose, in the immortal words of Curtis Mayfield, really adulting is a simple case of “keep on keeping on”.