Even though I know I’m 34 and, therefore, quite deep into my adult years, I somehow don’t often feel like I’m a grownup.
I think when I was younger I thought that being an adult would come with a sort of positivity and all-knowingness – not the kind your mother-in-law has, but the kind that comes from looking really cool in business attire and having your own briefcase.
I thought I would always know the answer and I’d be the kind of person who has complete self-confidence in every decision I made.
I had no idea how wrong I’d be…
I do have moments where I have the feeling of independence once in a while, but these moments are fleeting, making it more like an emotion than a general sense.
And just to remind me of how ungrownup I am, I got the hiccups yesterday and just couldn’t shake them. I held my breath, drank water upside down and even tried to scare myself by watching the first episode of Stranger Things.
Thankfully, they disappeared when I went to the bank later and I cleared up a mistake on my account. During that time I actually felt like a grownup; no hiccups, and completely cool. I think I fooled them.
But it made me realize that this feeling of being a grownup may not even really exist at all. Maybe it’s just something we imagine will feel different but never really does. Maybe all it is is an emotion that shows up only once and a while, out of the blue, kind of like the hiccups.
I started to think more about what it means to get the grownups…
I tend to get the grownups more when I’m at the bank, taking care of my future.
I feel the grownups when I’m driving somewhere I’ve never been and I figure it out.
I definitely feel them when I act like a bonehead and knock someone’s drink over and my first instinct isn’t to be embarrassed but to laugh at myself, apologize and replace it (which happened today).
I wonder if these moments will eventually get closer together and eventually meld into a fully-formed sense of adultness.
But talking with some of my elder relatives in the last while has pretty much assured me that it really never kicks in like you expect it to. They say it’s actually more like the hiccups and how they show up to remind you to take it slow and breathe.
In the same way, those adulting moments give us a quick glimpse of our adult life, and for a few moments we can feel like we’ve made it. These moments give you a chance in a quick glimpse to see how your life has progressed and is a little more sorted out than it used to be.
The trick, I think, is to take the moment in, but also be careful to not try too hard to hold on to it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you have to make the feeling last.
It’ll be back some time soon.
In the meantime, we still have some growing up to do and we’re meant to really enjoy that part of the journey – the part that feels fun and unbound by time. The part where I still feel like a little girl when I give my dad a hug or when I play on the grass with my dogs.
When do you get the grownups and when and how do you let them go?
I’d love to hear in the comments or on Facebook.
And if you or someone you know is looking for more ways to feel the grownups, to really take charge of your adult life, get in touch! Find out more about working with me in one of my coaching programs at ashewoodward.com. Or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.