What does it mean to be an adult? The dictionary defines it as someone who is fully grown; mature. You are allowed to vote when you turn 18...does that make you an adult? The legal drinking age is 21, but that does nothing to help you become more mature. Car rental companies consider 25 years of age to be mature enough to loan you a very expensive piece of equipment. Do you become an adult when you get your first real job, or when you pay off the debt you accumulated in your pre-adult days? Does becoming a parent make you an adult? What about the first time you deal with a big crisis and don't call your parents for help?
I am 31 years old and I still have a hard time thinking of myself as an adult. When I was getting close to graduating from college my friends and I joked about entering the real world and becoming the scary "A" word. Life sure seems a whole lot easier as a kid, even a 22 year old college kid. I was going to have be responsible, get a job, cook my own meals, and start paying back those darn student loans I had been living off of. Would I figure out how to survive without my friends living on the other side of a thin wall? We joked about how scary it would be, but deep down I was terrified.
Here it is almost 10 years later and I think I've figured it out. No, I'm figuring it out. We are constantly learning and growing, and I have not mastered being an adult. Fake it until you make it....?
I look at other people my age and view them as adults, yet I still think of myself as a kid playing dress up. I have a full time job and bills to pay. I own a house. I come home every night and fix dinner. I make my own decisions, right or wrong, and face the consequences either way. On the outside I am a full blown adult. I don't have to ask for permission to leave the dinner table without cleaning my plate. Chores are done (...sometimes) even without the reward of an allowance at the end of the week. No one makes sure I get up in the morning, brush my teeth, or finish my homework before going to bed.
I am an adult and I make my own decisions. As a self proclaimed adult my favorite decisions are to keep acting like a kid! The other night I had ice cream for dinner, because I am an adult and I can do that. I sang a kids song, nice and loud, for my coworker at 7 am last week (actions and all)...and I didn't care who else in the office heard me (she acted like I was annoying, but I know that deep down she loved it). I just asked Troy to name some kid like things I do and he laughed and said it would be easier to name the grown up things I do. Sounds like I don't have a difficult time embracing my inner child!
Life forces us to become an adult eventually and it's not as scary as I once thought it would be, but it's also important to keep a bit of that child inside you alive and kicking. Let go of the serious and just go with the flow every once in a while. Occassionally get selfish and make things all about you. Lay in the grass and try to find animal shapes in the clouds.
I sat down to write about being an "adult" because I needed something for my letter A in the A-Z blogging challenge, but I learned something about myself in the process. I sometimes feel like life stresses me out too much and too often, and I complain that being an adult is hard! As it turns out I spend a lot of time embracing my inner child and I am happier than I realized.
Being an adult isn't as scary as I thought it would be, but I do miss those mandatory naps we had in Kindergarten!
***As I was typing this post Troy and I were busting a gut in uncontrollable laughter as we took turns trying to do gymnastics on the living room floor. My inner child is alive and well!