It was difficult to keep the smile off my face as I watched the two twenty-somethings discuss how to get his items back from a girlfriend he had broken up with over the summer. I had heard about this girlfriend off and on since April, and the relationship reminded me so much of something I would have gone through at that age that it always made me laugh.
As strange as it is to think about… these kids are closer in age to my daughter than they are to me. And yet, they consider themselves ‘grown-up’.I suppose it is what every child waits for, that time when they can make their own decisions, be responsible for themselves. I am not sure, though, that this is enough to qualify as ‘grown-up’. Certainly, many of the decisions I made at that age did not look anything like maturity.
There were, of course, the stupid activities performed on the weekends and usually involving parties with friends. But on a deeper level there were also many moments when I bought into the drama and emotion of a short term
perspective. A boyfriend would dump me and I would cry and mope for a month. Negative feedback on something I had done at work would send me into a tailspin of shame and anxiety that would ruin my otherwise perfect summer.
It is not so much responsibility, then, that marks our passing age; more the degree to which we let our life run us, rather than the other way around. Recognizing that I am responsible for my life means that I can choose not only how to live it, but also how to feel about it.
This weekend I received news that my book, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, will be released in digital format on February 13th. Certainly this is something to celebrate and enjoy. Instead, though, my life has become one big to-do list. I am overwhelmed by the many activities I want to do to promote the release. Rather than focus on the reason for these
activities, their very existence seems like a chore. When my daughter was complaining about going to school today I referred to these jobs I had to do, saying I wasn’t really looking forward to doing them, but I had to anyway.
“But Mommy, you love to write.”
And I was reminded of the basic fact that these are actually things I enjoy doing… as long as I don’t become overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety of whether they will all work out as planned. Lesson learned!
Apparently being grown-up has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with perspective.