Friday, May 21, 2010

The Great 48

One of my birthday cards this year had Fisher-Price 
"little people" on the front, and it said,
"I'm 'this many' years old."

Another year has come and gone and today marks year number 48.  It's not a "milestone" birthday, but there are many days when I'm just as happy to be anything, as long as it isn't past-tense.  This morning, as I was walking to the car, TeenTuna asked me how old I was, and without thinking, I answered her.  She said, "So, you're not 27 anymore?"  I said I guessed not, and chalked up my truthful answer to a combination not caring and the time of day, which was a tender 6:15 am.

You'll notice I didn't say anything about growing up or being mature.

To this day, I still sometimes wonder when I'll feel like a grown-up.  My age tells me I'm a legal adult, my teenager tells me I'm a parent, and my monthly bills tell me I'm obligated to pay what I owe.  All of those things, individually and combined, tell me that I'm a grown-up.  I accept it, but I don't feel it.

Oh sure, I can play the part, especially when it comes to parenting.  I know I must be responsible, protective, authoritative, and yes, even dictatorial.  ESPECIALLY DICTATORIAL (caps-lock, bold, leaned-over).  I make the rules, I enforce the rules, and I reward and punish accordingly. Based on that alone, you'd think I'd feel like a grown-up.  But I don't.

In all honestly, I'm not exactly losing sleep over my apparent deficiency, and I'm guessing that nobody else notices it (or cares) besides me.  But I do wonder, am I alone out here?  Did everyone my age progress emotionally, physically and spiritually to the Kingdom of Middle Age, while I was out playing on the swings?

Sometimes I envy those who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up, and then went out and did it.  Or who can name a favorite book, or movie, or color, or song.  It seems so decisive.  It seems so grown-up.  My dilemma is that I want to learn everything and do everything and be everything and choose everything.  That sounds like I'm flaky and unable to commit.

But really, the way I prefer to spin it, is that I'm decidedly non-decisive.  Plans are important and goals are a good thing, but I prefer broad horizons to narrow channels.  After 48 years I've learned there are so many more things for me to learn, books to read, songs to sing, flowers to plant, foods to try, and places to travel.  As an rational, realistic grown-up, I know I won't get to them all.  But the child inside me is really excited about the journey.

Here's to 48 more years of possibilities.
Ready. Set. Wander.

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