When I was a kid, I used to dream about what it would be like to be a grown up. No rules. No school. Nobody telling you what to do all the time. It was going to be totally AWESOME. (Cue up Cindy Lauper music!)
Flash forward to my middle years…and yeah. I think I must have been misinformed or something. No Rules? Pffftttttt!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve got more rules than a yardstick…or is that rulers? Or both. Anyway, there are scads of rules! Rules for driving, rules for work, rules set by the homeowner’s association… I’m not saying I want to live in anarchy. However, when I was kid, I couldn’t imagine there’d be soooo many extra rules shaping the way I live my life, or the way I keep my yard trimmed. LOL
No school? PLEASE!!! You never stop learning. I just took a class this past week on “How to Study.” Of course I’ve been doing it wrong all these years, otherwise there’d be no point of sitting through a 90-minute lecture for 10-minutes worth of useful information. I dragged my kiddo along for this one. Misery. Company. Mockery. At least we had a family bonding moment.
No one telling you what to do? I wish this were true! I wish I had more control over my life. I wish I still didn’t feel like I’m at the mercy of other people, their opinions, their judgment. As you get older, you learn to adjust to the harness and like a good little mule, you learn to pull your own weight. But the illusion of being fully in charge of your own destiny is just that, an ILLUSION. When my kiddo needs something important, his needs come before my wants or desires. That’s parenting. When my boss has a project for me, it’s my job to see it through, regardless of my own desires. That’s what you do when you want a paycheck. You earn the pretty-pretty money, pay your bills, be a good citizen of the planet. Blah, blah blah…
I’m not saying my life hasn’t had its fair share of AWESOMENESS. I just imagined it differently. I figured there’d FINALLY be a point in my life where I felt like a grown-up. I thought there’d be a milestone moment. I thought I’d be able to say, “Ah ha! Now, I get it. This is what it’s like to be a grown up.” Instead, I get to watch my body slowly age with time. I can see the signs of aging, especially around my eyes. My belly’s a little softer. My style of clothing has changed to reflect my changing body. Less trendy clothing. More timeless pieces in my wardrobe. And while I feel FAR more comfortable with my body than I did when I was younger, I’m STILL waiting to feel like a grown up.
I look like a grown up on the outside. Why don’t I feel like one on the inside? I didn’t think I’d still be struggling with the questions: Who am I? And… What do I want to be when I grow up? I would have thought I’d have these questions solved by my middle years!
It’s kind of funny in a way. The joke is on me! The reality is, I will probably never be able to fully answer either of these answers. The journey is what’s important. Living life. Making conscious choices. But in most ways, if I’m truly living my life, I’ll always be a child, a student. There’s so much more to learn!
Recently, I’ve found myself trying on the role of mentor. I suppose this is a natural progression when you’ve reached the middle years of your life. My own mentors were in their late thirties/early forties or older I was in my twenties. It’s not a conscious choice, at least it hasn’t been for me. But when you work with people half your age, advice happens! (Solicited or not.) When you’ve lived more life, and made more mistakes, hopefully, you learn a couple of things along the way. But then…I find myself wanting to LEARN even more, because who am I to give advice to anyone? What do I know? There are days when I feel more parts ignorance than smart. And then…I feel even LESS like a grown up than ever! It’s like I’m wearing “Mommy’s dress and heels,” playing make believe, pretending to be a grown-up, and often failing miserably. *sigh*
Perhaps more tuneage would help? (Cue Cindy Lauper music.) LOL