I'm just going to put the disclaimer out there - you asked me to post my essay if I got one written. Well, I wrote it & now I'm posting it. DON'T LAUGH or I'll cry bloggy tears!
Just teasing, but there is something terribly intimidating about letting you all ready my essay. I emailed it the magazine without a thought b/c I don't know those people & I know I won't win anyway :-)
So...here it is!
For most people, the desire to feel all grown up begins at an early age. For me, it was very early. With an older brother and an older sister, there was no shortage of people in our house who felt that it was their responsibility to boss me around. “Someday…” I would think to myself. “Someday I’ll go where I wanna go! I’ll wear what I wanna wear, listen to the music I wanna listen to, play the games I like!” and the list went on and on.
Now when I crawl out of bed each morning my thirty-two year old face stares back from the bathroom mirror. My white gold wedding band gleams on my hand and I have definitely reached the point in my life where I would be described as a ‘grown-up.’ But when did it happen? Could grown-up-ness just happen to me one day without me even noticing? Is it like that first gray hair I ever had? I wondered how long it had been there before I even noticed it. It just snuck up on me.
Maybe I became a grown up in the same subtle way. After high school I went to college out of state. I could now freely do all the things my childish mind had determined to do. There were no older siblings to boss me around & best of all, my parents were 500 miles away. Yet, I depended on them for so much – money (of course!), support, guidance. I certainly was not truly standing on my own two feet.
The years after graduation were crazy and fun-filled. I labeled myself a ‘Fake Adult’, moved back in with Mom and Dad, loving the single life. I worked a very flexible job which was not high paying by anyone’s standards. I wanted to travel. So I did – road trips, camping trips; beaches and mountains were the places I roamed. I was having a wonderful time but I was not really living the grown up life.
Then things started to happen, in a very gradual way. I got a real job that I actually enjoyed so the thought of staying there for more than six months was not distasteful. I started saving money instead of booking airline tickets. By God’s wonderful design I landed in a stable relationship. I even bought a house. After a little more time had passed, I got married. I entered my thirties - oy! By any standards, I can no longer label myself a ‘Fake Adult’. And yet, some nights I still half expect my mom to pop her head out the front door and call out through the fading evening light for me to come home and get ready for bed. Sometimes I still feel like we are playing house.
There is evidence to the contrary; evidence that shows I have reached the status of Grown-Up. My parents talk with me and our conversations are different. Now they ask me my opinion of things or what would I do if I had been in a certain situation they had been faced with. Since I work in pharmaceuticals, they ask me questions about their health and medications. These are not conversations we had when I was a child. Things have changed.
Now each morning the alarm clock goes off at an early, cruel hour. I lie in bed savoring my husband’s warmth for one last snooze session before stumbling into the bathroom to stare at my thirty-two year old face in the mirror. The truth is, no matter how I try to determine just when the transition from child to grown-up occurred, the fact is that it has. And not just because I bought a house or got married. It is just like that first gray hair that sneaked up on me – it is inevitable. And it is a good thing!