All Grown Up
Sometimes, looking back at how I’ve changed in the past few years, I feel like I’ve finally grown up and become an adult. Not that this means that I don’t still make mistakes (I am the Queen of Mistakeville). Nor does it mean that I’m not silly or childlike at times.
But events don’t undo me for months the way they used to. I don’t throw up my hands helplessly and say “This is what always happens to me. There’s nothing I can do!”
I’m still easily hurt. I need time to recover from an outright slap in the face or a more subtle, but more damaging, stab in the back. But I don’t sit around watching a small cut turn into a festering wound the way I used to.
Sometimes I need to say or do something to correct the problem. Other times, I just let it go and continue on my way. The latter isn’t cowardice. It’s just knowing how I want to spend my time and what battles are worth fighting. I want to conserve my energy for creating shit, not waste it on someone else’s chaos.
I always thought that growing up would be boring and would make me boring. I think mostly I feared that there would be no one else around that was more grownup than me that I could blame for whatever I felt had gone wrong.
I feared having full responsibility for what I did and whatever happened to me. Sure, some stuff is out of our control and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for it. But for most things, we know exactly what we did to end up here.
Growing up has been difficult but also freeing because I don’t have to be afraid of the whims of other people. Yes, their bullshit can affect me but I can decide not to engage in it.
We can have the best of both worlds — the freedom to be the adult in our life and make our own decisions, while at the same time, holding the attitude of a child to be curious and playful.
Remember how you imagined life would be when you grew up? When you had all those ideas about what kind of work you would do, where you would live, who you’d be with, whether you would have kids or not, places you would travel to, and so on?
Time is shorter as an adult. The body is less willing to accomodate some activities. Some days, you want to take all those naps you refused to take as a kid. But the thing is, you decide. You decide all of it.
“…I feared that there would be no one else around that was more grownup than me that I could blame for whatever I felt had gone wrong.” This is one of the most insightful statements I have ever read. What clarity. Wow. Great post.
Ah yes, that was not an easy thing to admit to myself, much less say out loud. 🙂
I love that thing about being a grown up that you learn to pick your battles, sure saves a lot of energy, and I love the cool images that you’ve scattered thru your wise, grown up words.
Well said, Maery! Being grown up means that you can choose what to spend your energy on.
I love the photos within this post. They are thought provoking and beautiful.
Thanks for your comments! Funny how we believe that being grownup is defined by an age…