Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Motherhood and More: Age truly is only a number, not a promise of maturity*

I turned 35 this month.

I’m still waiting to feel different, older, mature, more “grown up.”

I’ve never really worried about aging. I don’t care all that much about looking old, I don’t worry about wrinkles or losing my youth. At this point in my life, one year is much like the next – albeit with children who have ever-evolving parental needs.

When I was younger, I thought 35 was the epitome of grown up. By 35, I should know what I’m doing, have a life plan and fully understand retirement savings accounts.

But for me, now, I’m kind of still waiting to feel like an adult. I’ve got bills, I have responsibilities, I have small people requiring my care and attention. But what does it mean to be an adult? Sometimes I feel aged like cheddar and wine. Sometimes I feel 16.

I was speaking with a friend on aging a few weeks ago and where we hoped to be by this age. I came to the conclusion that it’s all a giant, delusional myth.

No one has their life together. Everyone is taking it as it comes, never really knowing if their choices and decisions are exactly the right ones. None of us are adulting, truly “adulting,” because we don’t really know what it means.

And I’ll wager that our parents felt the same way when they were our age. We thought they knew everything about everything because they were able to speak with confidence when they told us to stop acting like fools. They were authority figures. But really, they were figuring it out as they went, too.

All that is to say that I don’t really feel old or what I thought old would feel like.

At this age, I should have wisdom and maturity and growth. And I do have days like that. I mean, I have a mortgage and someone has to be available to make dinner for all the wild children who live in my house. Two. It’s only two, but if we’re going by number of dirty socks strewn throughout the house it’s more like 14.

But much of the time I have the mind of a 12 year old, giggling at inappropriate jokes, writing melodramatic poetry or secretly lusting after Lisa Frank unicorn folders. I think that’s just how it is, for most of us.

At a certain age, we want to appear like we know what we’re doing. We’re all faking it, though. We do what we can to seem responsible and grown up but still really want to have ice cream for dinner most days.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on July 27, 2016.

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