I am not a grown-up. Yes, I have a kid, a husband, a college degree, a job and so on...but, these are only indicators of society's notion of adulthood, they only make me look grown-up.
In the essay "Growing Pains" from the book It's Not Mean If It's True: More Trials from My Queer Life, Michael Thomas Ford talks about what growing up means to him, he opens with the most wonderful set of paragraphs, these paragraphs resonated with me when I first read the essay at the age of 23, but now, at 35 (5 years older than Ford's 30 year old self when he wrote the essay), I know them to be true.
"I am a grown-up. I know this because this morning for breakfast I ate half a bag of Reese's miniature peanut butter cups. If I were a child, someone would have stopped me.
But I don't always feel like a grown-up. In fact, most of the time I sit around waiting for someone to tell me what to do next, as if the bell ending recess rang but I can't remember where my classroom is. I keep hoping a hall monitor will happen along and point me in the right direction. The peanut butter cups were clearly an act of rebellion."This essay is about trying to fit into a world that prefers to wear suits and carry briefcases and worry about mortgages--a world that prefers to be "adult". I, like Ford, spent my early 30s wondering when I was going to magically become a grown-up and I, like Ford, kept on ticking off things that should make anyone a grown-up--own my car *check* have a kid and take them to daycare *check* pay taxes *check*...yet...I was looking at the grown-ups around me and still noticing I wasn't meeting some sort of unwritten grown-up standard. I do not feel compelled to be at work in a timely manner, I do not feel compelled to pay my bills in a timely fashion, I do not feel compelled to feel a sense of duty about attending weddings, graduations and other things to which I am invited just because I have been invited. If I have to RSVP to something I usually mail it on the deadline. I drink strawberry and grape soda. Oh and I also drink kool-aid extra sweet. Sometimes the kiddo has pizza for breakfast, one time she had ice cream. Um, I don't shower every day. Er...I can tell you...I don't like the idea of being a grown-up. As Ally in The Breakfast Club says, "When You Grow Old Your Heart Dies." And, every day I found a part of me not being able to remember names of friends from high school, everytime I found myself not being able to recall a particular college road trip, I felt the 'ole heart skip a beat. However, here in the last week whenever I've told people that I'd be 35 or am 35, I've been getting a lot of "Oh, really...?" as in "Oh, really I didn't know people who do what you do [Lord, only knows what that is!] could be over 30!"
Frankly, I prefer the company of teenagers over the company of most grown-ups...their needs are simple and their efforts are apparent.
I think I peaked at 17.
At 17, I would have been the mature one.
I do love me this way, though.