Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grown Ups

I was talking to a friend about being "grown up" yesterday and I haven't really been able to stop thinking about it. There's that point in your life when you have to start answering questions about what's expected of you and what it means to be an adult. Welcome to that place.

I'm "grown up" enough to know I'm at a place in my life where I have a pretty solid concept of who I am as a person, what I have to offer, an appreciation of where I've been and enough foresight to know where I'd like to go next. I don't know how I'm going to get there, but I can see, based off of what I've accomplished in the past, that I can and will arrive at either my dream or an adjacent dream not yet realized.
I'm "grown up" enough to know that having a baby or doing what is "expected of me" within a certain society does not, in fact, lead to some sort of required and age-appropriate level of happiness or maturity. I'm also "grown up" enough to know that not having those things does not make me less of an adult, less of an important participant in society or make me less-than those that do have/want those things right now.
I'm "grown up" enough to know people make a mistake in misinterpreting "having a good time" with "being adolescent in your maturity." Those are two different things. I still love to laugh until I choke, to drive around and sing, to run around the city like a banshee and to listen to dance music. However, I also have a job that supports me, the discipline to chase after what I want in life and the understanding that while there's nothing wrong with being almost 30 and liking Britney, I do not have to talk about her all the time, wear her shirts to bed or have a poster of her on my wall.
I think we have to look out for ourselves in this world and we have to guard our dreams and while that can be misinterpreted as selfishness, there's a difference between being singularly-minded on your goal and only thinking about yourself. The world doesn't look like it did 20 years ago. Our generation doesn't have to have kids in our twenties to be fulfilled. If anything, that's what our thirties are for. Even our forties. And so what if we don't have kids? We'll raise the best, appropriately-named, dogs anyone has ever known.
The other side of that coin is that I'm "grown up" enough to know that life is nothing but the people who are in it, and above all other things, that's what matters. I believe with all my heart that it's only when that concept and your dream align that you can truly be fulfilled.

In my opinion, the key to being "grown up" is the inner knowledge that what you are doing is exactly what you need to be doing in that moment to get to where you want to go next. That involves a generous amount of wisdom to understand and a generous amount of courage to follow through. To me, that's being a "grown up."

No comments: