When did you officially feel grown up?
I’m sure we all woke up this morning to a little bit of a fog that we weren’t necessarily expecting. I didn’t watch the election returns last night, and only tuned in at 7:15.
I don’t want to get political in this post, or in the comments (please!), but I will just say that I think a lot of people are very anxious today. I get it. Our prayers here in Canada are with those in the United States, and it looks like it will be a while until we know anything for sure.
But because we’re all feeling so strange, I thought I’d just write something small to think about today, as we all try to get our minds off politics or think about something else.
This month, on the blog, we’re talking about emotional maturity. I started our series off yesterday by talking about the four markers of emotional maturity. And I made the point that maturity doesn’t necessarily come with age–though it does tend to go in that direction.
So I wondered–when do we all start feeling like we’re mature? Like we’re grown ups? Like we’ve entered into a new category in life?
It took me a long time to feel like I’m actually a grown up.
I thought I’d feel like I was a grown up when I got married, but I didn’t.
I thought I’d feel it when I had kids, but I didn’t.
But sometime in the decade after the kids were born I crossed a line. I don’t know where it was, but I became a grown-up.
And I’m trying to figure out how to define it.
I started to grow up with men when I could stop asking, “Does he like me?”, and start asking, “Do I like him?”.
I began to feel like a grown up when I called my mom for her advice, and not her approval.
I knew I grew up when the fact that my father didn’t understand me became a cause for pity for him, rather than for angst, anger, or introspection on my behalf.
I felt like a grown up when I could begin to make a recipe without a recipe book and without worrying whether it was how my mother-in-law would make it.
I was a grown up when I stopped worrying what other people thought of my children’s behaviour and just concentrated on being the best mom I could be.
I was a grown up when I started taking better care of myself, like caring what I looked like again and not just hiding the earrings in the drawer because I couldn’t figure out how to wear them when the kids liked to pull on them. When I started prioritizing feeling good in my body, I felt more like a grown up.
I was a grown up when I could calmly talk to a salesperson about what their establishment had done that was beyond the pale, instead of letting them walk all over me.
I knew I was a grown up when I could start looking at other people’s kids and at teens and telling them what I honestly thought instead of being intimidated into worrying that I’d be labelled “the mean mom”.
I felt like a grown up when I could pray with other women in my church, even older ones, and feel like I could offer some counsel.
I felt like a grown up when I acted like others were my equals, instead of feeling insecure around those who were of higher rank or status than I was. Once I realized that didn’t matter, I knew I had grown up.
I felt like a grown up when I could see someone and have a conversation and not remember until the next day that I was supposed to be mad at them. I guess I don’t carry grudges in the same way anymore.
I knew I was a grown up when I could ask people over for dinner and not worry about whether they’d like what I made. I’d just cook what I liked, and figured everybody else would make do.
And I know I’m a grown up now that I can admit my faults to other people rather than trying to pretend to be perfect. I know now that there’s no point in pretending.
And I feel like a grown up now because I’m realizing more and more, perhaps since turning 50 this year, that my citizenship is not here; it is in heaven. This life is important to Jesus, but it is only a fraction of eternity. So I think I can let go of things a lot easier now and not worry so much what other people think.
Frustrated about what’s happening in the world?
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What about you? Do you feel like a grown up, or do you still struggle with it? What makes you a grown up? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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