All of my life it seems I have been waiting to grow up. I can remember as far back as when I was waiting to go to Kindergarten. I was so anxious to go to school because that meant that I was growing up. Then I started school and every year I was anxious to start the next grade because that would mean I was even more grown up.
That got boring after a couple of years and then I just couldn’t wait until I was 13. When I was 13 everything in my life would change. Everyone knew that you were so grown up at 13. When you were 13 you could watch PG-13 movies after all. For my 13th birthday, my parents threw me a surprise party and invited boys. It was my very first boy/girl party. We had cake, opened presents, then turned the lights down and danced to Stevie B.’s "Because I Love You" on repeat all night because I got the tape for my birthday and it was the only slow song we had handy. I spent most of the evening unhappy because the only boys that showed up were the ones "going out" with my best friends and I had no one to dance with.
When I was 14, I had my first serious boyfriend. I thought I was so grown up then. We went on dates to the local pizza joint and to the movies. My sister would drive me over to his house to watch movies or just hang out. His parents even let us hang out up in his bedroom, which would have stopped the visits immediately if my parents would have found out. Sometimes he would come to my house and we would watch the Cowboys together. At the time I thought that he was for sure the one I was supposed to be with for eternity.
That relationship ended after about a year, and although I was upset by it I didn’t let it slow me down much because I was almost 16! I was going to be an adult and have a car and be able to go and do whatever I wanted to do! Unfortunately, Mom and Dad put the brakes on those ideas very quickly. I still wanted to be grown up though, so I went out and got a job. Having a job meant you were grown up right? Well, I quickly found out that I hated working (and still do!). The job at the local grocery store was awful. My best bud at that job was a guy who later got arrested for being a sniper and shooting cars on the interstate. I did like having a little spending money, but I didn’t last long there. I wrote a nasty letter to my boss, who probably got a really big laugh out of it, and I was done.
Since 16 didn’t turn out to be the magical age where I was finally all grown up, I looked forward to 18. I was in the midst of my next very serious relationship and was ready to graduate from high school. I already had a ring on my finger and was ready to get away from my parents and start a new life with my soon-to-be husband. My last year of high school was anything but pleasant and I just couldn’t wait to get away from it all. Plus, college was just around the corner and once I was there I would surely be grown up.
While I did feel much more grown up once I was in college and out on my own, I still reverted back to Mom and Dad when I needed something. After my Freshman year, I got married, moved off campus, and started what I though would be my adult life. As it turned out, just because I was living like an adult didn’t mean I had the maturity of an adult. When things got rough, I ran away from them instead of dealing with them. That helped me end up with a divorce, a job well below what I was capable of, and a lot of debt. I sure was grown up then. I constantly lived in fear because I just couldn’t handle life. I wanted so badly to just go back to being a kid again.
Eventually, I pulled myself back up, met my husband and decided life was worth living agian. We fell for each other hard and fast and suddenly I was ready to try and be an adult again. We got married, moved into a house (even though it isn’t ours), got a dog, and had a baby. Over the last year I have felt a change within myself. There is a settling of sorts that has happened. I finally feel like I have grown up and I have realized just how childish I was before.
I think the biggest change was when I had my son and realized that I was responsible for someone else’s life. Above everything else, that is what made me feel grown up. I am no longer the shy person I once was. I am capable of standing up for myself, my son, and my family. I feel a sense of responsibility and pride in the things I do for my family.
At almost 29 years old, I finally feel grown up. I know I have a lot yet to learn and so many more things to experience in my life but I finally feel like I have grown into the person that I always wanted to be. I’m not afraid to be who I am. I am not afraid of what other people think of me. I know I have flaws and things I can improve upon, but I am me and I’m happy with that. And you know what? I kind of like the grown up me.