I was looking around the dinner table at my family on Mother’s Day, basking in the laughter and sense of home, when I was hit with a startling realisation:
MY SIBLINGS HAVE GROWN UP.
So have my friends for that matter. I didn’t even notice until that moment.
My best friend is currently in America living with her man. My other best friend is running the marketing campaigns for the university that I attend. My younger sister went to England for six months last year and brought back a boy, who she's planning on moving out with soon. My little brother has almost finished his Medical Science degree and is studying to get into Medicine. My friends from university are now settled into fancy full-time jobs with titles that I don’t understand. My new friends are married with babies. And Joel has a permanent job as associate producer for a well-known video games company.
Everyone is growing up around me.
And I feel like I have been left behind.
I don’t have a full-time job in my future. Currently the plan is to finish my teaching degree, then go BACK to uni to do post-grad English Literature, which will hopefully get me into Masters, which will hopefully lead into some sort of academic job that allows me to never actually leave university.
Reasonable and responsible, huh?
The thing is, yes I am married and living out of home, but that’s kind of all down to Joel being responsible and good at saving and me just coming along for the ride.
So while it was a lovely day and my mum was spoiled rotten, when I got home that night and was left to my thoughts, I couldn’t help but feel a bit dejected. Would I ever be bitten by the ‘adult’ bug like everyone else? Or will I always be this hopeless?
It wasn’t until this weekend, when I organised my room, cleaned the house, washed two weeks worth of laundry and froze some dinners and homemade muesli bars for the week, that I realised I too am grown up.
How did I not notice this before?
I guess I was always expecting it to be this moment. This exciting, life-changing moment. And I’ll admit, I did sort of expect some fanfare and maybe a ‘doo-wop’ group to serenade me with a song all about how grown up I now was.
But I also realised something. Yes I may be able to pay bills on time. Yes, I can now officially cook, rather than eating toast or chips for dinner every night. Yes, I have learned that studying and awesome grades go hand in hand (after six years of uni...). And yes, now when I want something to happen, I make it happen; rather than waiting for someone else to do it for me.
BUT being grown up doesn’t mean that YOU inherently change. You do things because it’s necessary, because no one else is going to do it for you; but you don’t really become all that wiser. I certainly haven’t.
I’m always going to pick fun over responsible. I’ll always put my savings into an overseas trip, rather than something boring and sensible. I’ll always pick cookie dough over vegetables. I’ll always spend money I shouldn’t at a book sale. I’ll always drink a little bit too much wine. I’ll always be chasing unreasonable dreams and refusing to settle for ordinary.
But I’ll also always pay the mortgage. And leave enough money aside for food, petrol and birthday gifts. And study when I need to. And get my car fixed when it’s broken (except for when one headlight is broken and I feel lazy...damn my need to truth-tell on this blog) and get medication when I’m sick.
Being an adult doesn’t mean changing. It just means doing what you need to do to get by. Taking responsibility for your life and future. And not letting other people down.
My grown up friends and family? They still do some stupid things. They still dance and laugh and love like teenagers. They are still filled with child-like wonder at the idea of carnivals and fireworks. They still like to lick the bowl after baking a cake. They just manage to fit the boring necessary stuff in between all of the fun things.
And I guess I do too.
Growing up isn’t as painfully boring as I thought. In fact, it’s kind of nice.