Even though I am quickly approaching 40 I don’t feel like a grown up. It is not that I think there is a numeric age that magically makes you a grownup. There are people younger than myself whom I consider to be grownups, just not myself.
I have a hard time trying to figure out a way to explain my feelings. The first time I ever tried I was in my mid 30s and a couple of months pregnant. In between sobs, I wondered aloud to my husband, “How can I be having a baby?!” sob, sniffle “I am not even a grownup!” It is one of those hysterical pregnant lady moments we laugh about now, but the feelings are still true. I do not feel like a grownup.
The next time I thought about trying to explain these feelings was when Christine, a friend I knew in high school, posted similar questions on her blog These Stones. The link to this particular full post is here. The part that I really connected with was when she said, “I’ve been a mom for almost 4 years, and I’m still asking questions. I guess it is hard to know if we ever really feel like a mom.” For me, forget wondering about being a mom, I stumble on the grownup question first.
I am trying to figure out how to express these feelings that I’ve never heard or read about anyone else experiencing. Is it just me? Or, if I feel this way and Christine has questions, maybe there are others with similar ponderings. Maybe lots of people still feel like someone who is ‘growing up’ rather than someone who is a grownup.
I am a wife, a mother, a teacher. I run a household (two actually, on two different continents) and a classroom, yet if I think of the big picture – the huge responsibility that comes with being a grownup – the weight bears down on me and I start to feel overwhelmed and squished by its enormity. I can manage daily chunks. I can grasp loving, nurturing, and protecting for a day. I can take care of paying the mortgage and planning meals today, but not the idea of 29 years of payments or the never-ending need to feed us and clean up afterwards.
Maybe that is the key. Maybe we aren’t supposed to be a grownup, but continue with our journey of growing up. Maybe we are supposed to just take each moment and hold it for its fleeting bit of time. Maybe the point is to be present in whatever the moment may be. Perhaps we are to be concerned only with the task in front of us and let the grownups worry about the rest.