As I’m still in a fairly transitory phase of life, I find myself thinking about this concept of “growing up” fairly often. In many ways, I am grown up. I’m in college, I pay (most of) my own bills, I’m married, I go to class on my own, I do well in said classes, I have my own home, I’ve planted a garden, etc. etc. etc.
But in some ways I still feel like a kid who’s just faking it because I’m so good at acting like a grown up. It’s an interesting dichotomy.
And then there’s the question of, what precisely is growing up? Daddy assured me the last time I blogged about growing up that being an adult was when you pay all of your own bills. Kyle and I are frenetically trying to find extra income so that we are able to pay all of our own bills. So far there’s only one left that we are being helped with (ever so graciously).
I agree that is part of it, but I also believe that being grown up is in many ways a bit more nebulous. It’s taking responsibility for your own actions. If you make a bad choice, it’s owning up to it and accepting the consequences instead of running to Mom and Dad to fix it. It’s telling somebody that you’re just not that into them and that they should pursue other people. It’s going out of your way to be a true friend instead of just a good weather friend. It’s not gossiping. It’s being able to apologize to someone for a mistake you made. It’s being busy. It is paying your own bills, or at least trying to. It’s being fiscally responsible. It’s forgiveness. It’s being able to admit that you don’t know something and following up if you need to.
I was talking to oldest SIL recently, and we talked about how the responsible part of being an adult is great. I agree with this. I appreciate childhood nostalgia, but I don’t ever want to be a kid again. I like being an adult. I like being able to drive, to make my own choices, to buy whatever dang food I want to at the grocery store.
We also agreed that letting go of whimsy doesn’t necessarily make you grown up. You can still be silly, you can still like “kiddish” things, you can goof around and play Chutes and Ladders, and still be an adult. Being an adult is about being responsible, reliable, honest, trustworthy, a person of integrity. Being all of those Personal Progress attributes, or Character Counts attributes that are easy to say, but hard to be. You can be old without being adult. Being an adult is a good thing, it’s leaving behind the parts of childhood that didn’t understand how to be responsible and reliable, without leaving behind the parts that make you fun and lovable.