Friday, January 28, 2011

When I Grow Up...

When we're kids, we all talk about what we're going to be when we grow up. And for years now, I've been waiting for that magical moment when I "grow up". When I'm a full fledged adult, and I look like it, and I act like it. But I look around me, and I look at my peers, and all I can think is... we're getting older, but we're not growing up. Or at least, a lot of us aren't. Our manner of dress hasn't changed, and we still watch the same kinds of movies. Some of us go to work, but we still talk and act the same way we did in high school. Is there some big change that is still forthcoming, or did I blink and miss it? 

Or is it that there's no great change at all? I can point to people ten years my senior who are no further along in their lives than I am right now. I can point to people twenty years my senior who have established careers, but socially behave as though they're still 17. I can look at so many people that I know, or am friends with, and wonder "Do we ever really grow up?" 

In some cases, it makes me happy. I like knowing that there's no cut-off age for thinking Harry Potter is cool, and that I'm still allowed to get excited over watching a Disney movie. But in many cases, it troubles me deeply. Does this mean that we might not necessarily reach a point where we're willing to commit to mature relationships? Are some people just never going to stop being selfish and insensitive? Is binge drinking going to continue to be amusing to some of us for the next fifteen years? Is dabbling in drugs still going to be the fad when we're in our thirties? When are we going to look in the mirror and say "Alright, it's time to stop this bullshit."? 

Those of you who have known me a while know that I have dated a very wide range in ages. In spite of this, many of the older men I've dated were no more mature than I am right now. Sure, I had the one who actually acted his age (with the appropriate degree of bitterness to boot... oy!) but most of the rest? Not so much. I mean, really, who continues to string women along and manwhore at age 46? Who continues to lay around the house stoned into their 30's? I have a less wide-ranging view of women, simply because most of my female friends are a lot closer to my own age. But we're not angels either - most of my female friends in college didn't give a crap about when they graduated, or if they did at all. We're living in the age of apathy, it would seem. No one cares enough to motivate themselves to do the right thing... or to do anything at all! 

The more I sit around and think about it, the more I think my epiphany about growing up actually came three years ago, when my roommate dropped out of college. I had gone off to college and immediately morphed into an OBNOXIOUSLY good girl. I went to class every day, I got good grades, I made Dean's List (a trend that I believe continued every semester), I got a job (which I still have), I didn't drink (oh, how the mighty have fallen...), or smoke, or do drugs, or have sex (What? Don't have sex, because you get pregnant and die!). The more my roommate cut class, drank, and didn't fulfill her obligations, the more I took it upon myself to succeed and prove that I was above that kind of behavior. I still think that in my first year of college, I aged about 10 years. 

And yet, it hasn't done me much good. I've graduated now, but I don't feel any more grown up. And looking around me, I'm not sure I'm supposed to. I don't know anyone in their 20's who I would consider a grown up, and I have friends who are married, engaged, pregnant, working, graduated, raising kids, and all manner of other things one would associate with "adulthood". But still, something's missing. Perhaps it's in the way we carry ourselves, or the way we regard ourselves. Perhaps we don't want to get there yet - perhaps we're not ready. Or perhaps we're already as grown up as we're going to get...


1 comment:

  1. I know so many grown ups who are only that in name. People who don't know how to make a good decision, even if it's important. People with kids, who have gotten married or who are about to. It's a scary thought.

    In one respect, I believe in not growing up -- I think being a little bit Peter Pan helps keep you young. But I don't think that can be the default.

    I wonder, though, if it's partially due to opportunity. Perhaps our career hasn't gotten off the ground, because of the economy (which has been tough as hell for a while). Perhaps we haven't met someone who cares enough to tell us when we're behaving like an idiot, because the world is mostly self-centered.

    I've always been an old soul. It's gotten me into trouble, sometimes. But that's neither here nor there. Age doesn't equal maturity. I used to think it did. And

    I don't really know what does, though. I wonder if growing up IS just a big lie.