Maturity, Schmaturity: A New Kind of Grown Up

Originally published January 2017

When was the first time you felt like a grown up?

As my blogging group mulls over this question as part of our monthly writing meet-up, I can’t help but laugh at the coincidence in this Seinfeld episode that aired earlier tonight:

I suspect for a lot of people, that moment of feeling like we’ve reached the mountaintop of adolescence and finally achieved adult status comes when the ring is put on the finger. For me, though, it came several months later. It was the first visit I made as a married woman to my grandmother’s house for Christmas. When I was having too much fun pushing my younger sister’s buttons while playing a game of cards and she stormed out of the house, it was then that I realized that I could no longer be disciplined in any kind of traditional manner by my parents.

After all, I wasn’t riding home with them anymore. (In case anyone is wondering, I do believe my sister has since forgiven my butthead behavior. It was funny, though.)

And while there may be a first time you feel like an adult, I also believe it’s followed by a lifetime of instances during which one is struck with the notion, “Oh, wait. I am the adult in the room. It’s up to me to handle it.”

I am not necessarily good at this.

I think about it at work, where on our team, I am one of the older-by-age members. And I remember back to when I was the 20-something with more mature co-workers. Now I’m on the other side, which makes me laugh, if only because I still slip easily into being goofy instead of serious.

I think about it when I am with my kids, and we’re staring down the last doughnut with sprinkles. And I want it just as much as they do.

I don’t wear maturity well. At least not the maturity I imagined I’d have by now.

I keep thinking that sense of refined, mature, wiseness will descend upon my being like an invisible cloak. I’ll wake up one morning and choose to read something off the BBC’s best books list instead of People magazine’s selections. I’ll choose steel cut oats over Frosted Flakes. I’ll start dressing sensibly. I’ll listen to classical music.

But I don’t want to stop singing Air Supply out loud.

I love my sparkly tennis shoes.

Sharing silly videos and GIFs with my coworkers is more fun than writing a memo.

I still can cry over a good YA book.

I’m not sure if I’ll end up an “I shall wear purple” kind of old lady, but if I do, I’ll have just the tennis shoes to go with it.

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