Do you remember when you were a kid? How whenever you were told you couldn’t do something by your parents, you always muttered under your breath “I can’t wait until I’m a grown-up and I can do whatever I want”?
Well lately I’ve really been bothered by the term “grown-up”. Specifically the use of past-tense to describe this state, which really only addresses half of what it means to be an adult.
(Being the total cliche that I am, I’m going to start making my point by using a definition. Read below…)
Now the first part certainly applies to anyone over the age of 18. With the exception of some poor scrawny bastards who need a few extra years, we’re all mostly physically developed by the time we graduate high school.
But that’s only half of what “grown” means, and it’s the “progres to maturity” that I think people forget about. To blow your mind with another definition and further the point I will eventually make, I give you number 3 on Dictionary.com‘s defintion for “mature”: fully developed in body or mind, as a person.
Body OR mind, you say?
Despite spending lots of time with grown-ups and much-older siblings, I was still under the assumption that being a grown-up meant doing whatever I want whenever I want, which started when I turned 18 and didn’t end until I decided to breed. And in a certain sense, I suppose that still is correct (based on anecdotal Facebook evidence of my friends with kids vs. my friends without kids).
It wasn’t until I made the smart and “grown-up” decision to end a long relationship with a very nice guy who just wasn’t THE guy, that I realized I needed to do a little work on myself. Up to that point I had basically been coasting on the [not-so-great] habits I’d developed earlier in life, oblivious to the fact that I owed it to myself to become a better person. The two years that followed that turning point were difficult [total shit, but in the grand spectrum of life shit, it was probably really only middle of the pack.) But those trying times forced me to spend a lot of time self-reflecting, which taught me a lot and I think really helped me develop a critical mind. My seizures certainly added a new level of depth to my self-reflections as well.
There is someone in my life, the inspiration for this post, who is still coasting in their [ambiguous pronoun] life without any consideration to others or any interest in growing-up, and it’s incredibly frustrating to be around them. And I don’t think this person is alone; you see that attitude everywhere. People stop reading books after graduating school. They stop questioning what they see around them. They rely solely on TV news for information. They don’t spend time questioning their actions. They debate issues with minds closed to other perspectives. They stop seeking out opportunities to learn. They continue to make the same poor decisions. They don’t strive to become better people. They park like jerks and needlessly take up two spots without thinking that maybe someone is visiting her boyfriend and also would like to park in front of his building… (okay that one is maybe a only specific to me but still totally relevant).
I’m definitely guilty of many of the above crimes. But I think that even by just being aware of those sins and acknowledging them means there’s a better chance I won’t do the same thing again, and I might actually be able to break bad habits. When I examine my life over the past three years, I can definitely see a change in and that makes me proud myself.
I don’t know about you, but to me being a grown-up is actually much more fun than I originally thought it would be.
(My blog titles are song titles. This one is “Now That I’m Older” by Sufjan Stevens.)