I think I used to be a Grownup.
Well, at least I knew the prices of almond milk and toilet paper. And I had a 1,600 square foot home to clean. Or NOT clean. Because I was a Grownup.
I was also a “Mrs.” and “Mrs.” gave me an identity. A Grownup identity. Then one thing led to another, and I was no longer a “Mrs.”
I looked at my life stripped of a house and a title and a set of clear plans. And I chose to do everything I always wanted to do. I moved back home to finish school and pursue all of my hopes and goals and desires.
I stand before the world a 23-year-old with a clean slate. A second chance. A fresh start. I get to chase my dreams no matter how wild they are. And I have a family to support me, to watch my dog while I’m away, to cook dinner, to buy me Gluten-Free bread at the store. The time is right and the time is now and I get to live out my dreams. I am humbled by the magnitude of the generosity of my family. I know deeply how lucky I am to be in this position.
See, when you’re a Grownup before you’re a Grownup- you miss the whole growing-up thing. You can be so busy buying almond milk and toilet paper and cleaning a 1,600 sq. ft. house that you don’t go through the awkward, glorious growing-up phase. I just got it all a little backwards.
Now I find myself living with my parents. And my mind is confused. Most people go from being a child to being a grownup. I went from being a grownup to being a… well a… um… a person who goes to school and lives at home with mom and dad. Then enter the fact that I find myself watching Jeopardy night after night because it’s awesome; and suddenly I’m a Elderly-Woman-Child completely devoid of clear Stage of Life.
All that time I thought I was a grownup, I really knew squat. Like how to make friends. How does one make friends post-high-school? My younger college-aged brother has pity on his introverted sister and gives me Friendship 101 lessons. They go like this:
Me: I need a “How To Make Friends” Baby-Step.
Brother: How about you start by saying “hi” to the kind people you’re around everyday and see what happens?
Me: Ok. Well…see… that’s a tad bit overwhelming. Maybe I need a Baby-Crawl.
Brother: You’re hopeless.
I also do things by myself for the first time. You would think that a deeply introverted human being would be comfortable eating at a restaurant by herself. But a person who went from teen to wife in a quick step never learned the Art of Being Alone.
It’s messy. I can’t even tell you what it all means, who exactly I am, or why my life has gone the way it has gone. There are no clear lines and there is no black and white. But it’s beautiful too. Every time I learn something in a class that makes me a better writer, every time I step out of my bubble and make plans with a friend, every time I laugh with my parents and brother on the back patio as we eat dinner- something beautiful is happening.
Oftentimes, when I go to my mommy-friends homes they look around at their cluttered floors and littered countertops and apologize for the mess. But that mess is just proof that lots of beautiful life is happening there. I often look at my cluttered Life Stages and littered Life Situation and apologize for the mess. But the mess is just proof that lots of beautiful life is happening here.
I think being a Grownup is more than an age. I think being a Grownup is more than knowing the prices of almond milk and toilet paper. I think being a Grownup is beauty and messiness all rolled up into one interesting life. Soaking up the gloriousness of the beauty and accepting the muckiness of the mess.
So I might have forgotten the prices of groceries. I might only be cleaning (or NOT cleaning) a 10’ by 12’ bedroom. My life may look quite messy right now, but really, it’s all just proof that lots of beautiful life is happening here.