When I was a child, I was a grown-up in many ways (I can see my parents nodding emphatically in agreement with that statement). My parents often told me to lighten up or to stop being so serious, usually because I rolled my eyes or made a snide comment related to something they said or did. I learned how to fend for myself at a young age (at least enough to manage a box of Rice-a-Roni or ramen noodles when I was hungry). I always wanted to be a grown-up.
Fast forward a couple of decades. I graduated college, I had a full-time job–I was a grown-up! But I wasn’t. At the same time, I often felt and acted much older than I was. You see, I spent almost the entirety of my 20’s battling the inner demons that came from being raped in college. Much of this was focused on the series of failed relationships that marked that decade of my life. I know that it needed to happen that way. Each failed relationship brought me one step closer to understanding myself. Each was a step toward realizing that I was still capable of loving and being loved in return, and more importantly, that I deserved better than just “any” guy that might be interested. But my focus on this part of my life left another part very sadly neglected. I had somehow lost myself.
I’ve spent the majority of my 30’s alone. While I’m not immune to feeling lonely, these years have also been very blessed, because I’ve been able to reconnect with myself. I sing in two choirs, I have friends again, I go out and do stuff on the weekends. Admittedly, sometimes I go a bit overboard when I’m with certain friends: the nights I had to stay on a friends couch after way too many shots, the video my choir director has of myself and another woman in the choir on pole dancing with a couple of strippers on stage at a strip club owned by a church parishioner… trust me, the list goes on. I sometimes feel like this is the life I was supposed to have in my 20’s.
I’m responsible and have a good career. I’m involved in choir and train in martial arts. I do the things that adults are supposed to do, at least on the outside. But the funny thing is that lately I don’t feel like an adult. The current depressive episode I’ve been battling (for over a year) often leaves me feeling child-like and helpless. There are days when I feel like I can’t even take care of myself, let alone anyone else. I dated a man for six months without him ever seeing the inside of my apartment- because it was that bad.
I’ve often heard people say that they may grow old, but refuse to grow up. I understand that and I completely relate to never wanting to be one of those “boring” old people. But once again, I can’t help but wish sometimes that I could be a grown-up.