After spending much needed vacation time with family, I came to one shocking realization: we all grew up. When did this happen? How is this possible? Are we no longer part of the “kids” table?
When you live surrounded by the same people every single day, you fail to realize that in that time we’re all growing a little older every day. But you never really stop and think about that. For example, to me my parents have frozen in time in their late 30s because that’s just how I see them. Also, my sister is the baby of the family, so no matter how old she gets she will always be the youngest.
It isn’t until you are reunited with those you don’t see often that you realize just how much everyone around you is growing up. But most shocking of all, is that time period when they stop going to school and join the workforce. As long as you are a student, you are considered young, but as soon as you become a professional suddenly nothing is the same anymore. The last time I saw all my cousins they were all either in high school or college, and actually so was I. So, in my head we were all still “kids.” We hadn’t really grown up just yet. And it certainly doesn’t help if we all act like kids around each other and are constantly surrounded by the “real adults”.
However, this year was very different. On Christmas Eve, we were all reunited for the first time in 4 years and I think I spent most of the night in my own head, which is very unlike me. Every once in a while, you get hit so hard with reality that you have to take a bit of time to yourself to process everything. The days before, I had been getting bits of information that kept being built up until one final realization. We had all grown up. One of my cousins was a professional, a speech therapist that had actual patients. Another works in law, like actually making real changes. Three are in a serious committed relationship with amazing women. And most shocking of all, another is a dad. Nothing brings reality closer until you see the first child of your generation of cousins. And then I realized, I’m a working professional with my own life too. Thankfully I still have a few students around so that it’s not a total shock.
But with all that new information, I realized that in those years we had all grown up. To the world, we were all “real adults.” Even my baby sister, by law, is now considered an adult. Truth be told, however, we would never really consider ourselves grown ups. We’re still young and have so much to accomplish. And that got me thinking, how do our parents see themselves? Do they see themselves as adults? Or do they look at the older generation and think they’re still young and trying to figure things out? Do any of us actually ever feel our actual age?
I don’t think we ever really reach an ‘aha’ moment, where we’re like “okay, now I’m an adult.” I think we just grow up feeling how we feel, and we never stop to think how old we’re actually getting. And we never really stop and think how others around us perceive us on this topic. I mean, people will always judge us based on our looks, or how we’re dressed or our actions. But no one ever stops and says “that person is actually 35 and a real grown up.” The only people that ever think about those things are kids. Kids see anyone above 20 an adult, except at 20 we still see ourselves as kids figuring out this complicated world.
I guess, age truly is just a number and it doesn’t mean much.I don’t have all the answers right now. And this is a very complicated subject that probably takes a lot of thinking and explaining. I hope I was able to at least verbalize a few of these thoughts. So let’s keep growing old one day at a time, but never really growing up inside.
Much love always,