Sunday, September 28, 2008

how does one know they are officially a grownup?

"How does one know they are officially a grownup?"
A thought piece by FGF

In a society where adolescence is brought on too early by 12-13 year olds engaging in oral sex at "rainbow parties" (each girl wear a different shade of lipstick; every boy has to see how many rings he can get around his member for the night) (trust me, this is REAL) And where adolescence for some lasts until the late twenties I have a question for you: "How does one know they are officially a grownup?"

In some ways, I have been a grown up for many, many years.

Mom raised me on her own and I've been working since age 14. I've also raised Mom a little bit. I was a wild teenager of sorts; going to bars, experimenting with drugs and boys etc. But I graduated high school going to the college of my choice, maintaining a B average, participating in loads of extra curriculars, not pregnant, no criminal record and voted as "Class Clown." At 18, I sure thought I was grown up.

Fast forward to college. 3 years of eating, drinking, playing rugby, trying to get boys to like me. Then my senior year set in and I became serious. I wanted to go to graduate school. Senior year I worked part-time on campus at the Sub Shop and got hired at my internship working with at-risk youth in a pregnancy prevention program. I took 5 classes, ran my own psychology experiment (about how we judge overweight people vs. thin people) and was preparing to get my own apartment. Being busy and employed meant I sacrificed nights of drinking with people I had next to nothing in common with anymore. I was labeled a loser because I had focused myself on moving to the next step in life, when people I surrounded myself still clung to their college social lives. This made me a grown up right??? I graduated college going to the graduate school of my choice, maintaining a 3.1 GPA overall, participating in loads of extra curriculars, not pregnant, no criminal record and signing a lease to my very own place. At 22, I sure thought I was grown up.

Now we fast forward to September 28, 2008. I'm pretty sure I'm more grown up than most people I know, even some older than I am. Bills are not a measure of adulthood, only responsibility. Maybe it's the line of work I'm in, but I feel like my attitudes have shifted a lot lately. To me, grown up means acceptance of what you're good at and what you need to work on. Knowing when to apologize. Knowing when to choose the relationship over being right all of the time. Grown up means if you don't say something about an issue that's wrong or affects others negatively, that means you agree with it. It means standing on the two feet G-d gave you and knowing when to lean on someone else if you get knocked off of those feet for a few. Being a grown up is all in your head. Nothing external like bills, kids, etc can make you an adult. Heck, even today, most 16 year olds are more physically mature looking than I am. Sometimes I feel weird for being my own person. Guilt, regret that I'm not out having fun like normal 24 year olds. But I justify this with the idea that I have my eyes on the bigger picture while they are continuing (dragging out) their adolescence. I feel better.

OK, out of my brain.

The comp exam went well. I think I passed. It is a standardized test but we are being normed against each other and the few people I've talked to afterwards agreed that some of the questions were bull. I got my mani/pedi but did not chop off my hair. I went to the gym but I did not get drunk. I haven't drank since I quit the ciggies. Why reward myself with something negative ?!?!?! I spent most of yesterday afternoon drifting in and out of sleep watching "House" and "Law & Order" and it was glorious. I might still get a hair cut today.


The Mandapants said...

On the growed-upness? I agree that it is just accepting what'cha got and learning to work with it. Learning to stand up to your parents by *not* saying anything. Learning to suck it up instead of getting riled up.

I realized a year ago that I get 99% of my confidence from my mom. I think more and more I'm starting to accept myself separately, especially since she's super super skinny and not muscular and I'm more muscular now, so...I'm still confident? (Our mutual weights being the issue of choice).

OH. And the comp? CONGRATULATIONS! I'm so proud, and I'm betting you passed with flying colors.

Chop off all the hair or just a little bit? It's pretty hair! Don't make it go bye-bye. :(

PS: Do you know if there exists a store-bought wash that'll only dye my hair darker for like a week so I can test it out?

fattygetsfit said...

i know that certain brands make semi-permanent dyes but they last 4-6 shampoos. You can get a "stain" or a rinse , which lasts only one shampoo. Try a local beauty supply store and see if they have rinses or stains.

tokaiangel said...

You're 24? How did I miss that?

And this alone is proof of what you say - you DO have a maturity and perceptiveness that belies your years. The things you say on here and in comments on other blogs shine out because they're so incredibly perceptive, and it's so heartening that you're working in a field where other, less fortunate people will get to benefit from your mind. No B-S. Because you will just get better at this as you get older. That's pretty exciting.

Everybody grows older but not everybody grows up. Wisdom does not always follow with age.

Me? I'm still working on it. But then I suspect we'll always be working on it in some way, even when we're 85.

TA x

carla said...

I love being privy to your innerbrainworkings.

And you are far more 'grownup' in the *good ways* than I was at 24 (there's a reason I wasn't a mom till 36)

For me, now, my only MUST for the grown up life are things that are truly musts ;)

Caring for Tornados needs (which I'd do anyway)

Paying bills.

It does shock me though when I look in the mirror, FGF.

I feel 16.
I look not16.
Cognitive dissonance (sp)


Tricia said...

I agree with you on the growing-up thing. My sis and I are the same age (we're part of quadruplets), yet I'm living on my own and solving my own problems, and she is continually asking other people to solve hers (and nothing is ever her fault).

She also mentioned a possibility of my parents "making" me move back in with them.

fattygetsfit said...

I know you are all right. I just feel sometimes, that people around me are out boozing and having all of this fun that I miss out on because I'm working, schooling, etc. I do have fun, don't get me wrong, but there seems to be something soo alluring about being careless and I can't allow myself to be that way. So I justify it with a blog about being grown up ;-)

Dr. J said...

Don't worry, it's something that just happens to you. Either that or the question becomes less important. Or you have a child and cognitive dissonance sets in, or weltschmerz maybe...

The Mandapants said...

Thank you for your comments! They makes me a Happy Pants.

PS: I'm proud of FGF, too!

M said...

Being a grown up is overrated! :)

Rockin Austin said...

You know, this is one of my favorite blogs to read. I have a feeling that if we lived in the same area that we'd be very good friends. Although I am eons older than you we are very much alike in our thinking. (I hope that doesn't offend you after reading MY blogs!) HAHA!

BTW - Great job on the test!

zandria said...

"Being a grown-up is all in your head."

Well said! I wrote a post about feeling like an adult (and relating to them) not long ago myself. :)