Okay, so I’ve been thinking about growing up a lot lately. Mainly because I’m almost twenty-one. (WHUT.)
I’ve been thinking about money and college and my career and what I’m gonna do when I graduate and it’s all SO TERRIFYING. Like I said in my last post, the future is kind of just a big void for me. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life if my writing career doesn’t work out.
But recently, I’ve been thinking less about my future and more about my past and how certain things I’ve gone through have shaped me into who I am today. Moving two states away from where I’d spent the first fourteen years of my life made me more of an extrovert (because it forced me to actively find friends) and also made me more serious about my writing (and we all know how crazy I’m turning out because of that!). Going on a two-week-long road trip last year helped me get to know a girl who would soon become my best friend. And, most recently, everything we’ve gone through with our church situation has helped my walk with Christ, knit my family closer together, and taught me how to deal with people who I don’t really like (smiling and walking away is the best; you don’t have to listen to them).
I know that I’m in a critical stage of my life. The choices I make now will effect me for the rest of my life – kind of a daunting thought! This is especially hard to wrap my mind around because I’m at that stage where I’m able to make my own decisions about pretty major things – which include some fun things and some hard things.
About a week ago, the phrase “aging gracefully” came to my mind as I was thinking about this. It’s usually meant in relation to the elderly, but it made sense when I put it with the age range I categorize myself in – seventeen- to twenty-five-year-olds (aka “young adults”). In the WebMD article “The Art of Aging Gracefully,” Katherine Kam says, “Experts say the keys to successful aging include accepting changes and finding meaningful activities.”
Can’t this apply to the young adult phase, too? Accepting who you’re turning into, the changes that are happening through your life, overcoming the awkward teenage years, and finding meaning in your life?
In the past few months, I’ve had to make some decisions about circumstances that I’ve never encountered before. They’re my first decisions as a nearly-legal-drinking-age adult. (Speaking of drinking, that’s another weirdly adult decision that I’m gonna have to make. YIKES.) I’ve taken myself to the doctor, enrolled in college courses, worked a job that isn’t rainbows and butterflies all the time, and even taken a long road trip with just my siblings. (That’s right – NO PARENTS.) I’ve also watched movies I’ve never been able to see before (without ClearPlay – oh, the sinfulness!) and read books that I’ve never been able to read before (you’ll see them pop up on my Goodreads page every now and then).
I’ve done the latter two things not because I want to prove to the world that I’m not a kid anymore, but to show that I’m an adult who can control what I let affect me. (And that’s the difference between maturity and immaturity.)
And it’s weird, because I’ve never felt like I’ve had the maturity to make these decisions. Every time a big decision comes up, I’m always like, “Wait; no – I’m not old enough to be doing this! Can’t an adult… oh, wait. I am an adult. Dang.”
I’ve also learned that maturing doesn’t have to be boring. Which is weird, because I always thought it was. When I was younger, I didn’t want to get old. I thought if I got older, I’d lose my sense of fun. In the words of my favorite Disney face character, I wanted to “keep adventuring and stay not a grown up.”
But – NEWS FLASH – you can be mature and still be fun.
You don’t have to turn eighteen and instantly think you’re better than everyone else. (Hint: You’re not.) You don’t have to turn twenty-one and stop watching Disney movies. (Protip: Watching Disney movies will keep you young at heart.) You can be an adult without losing your sense of life.
Because life without life… is boring.
So anyway. Just some thoughts. 🙂 What are yours on the subject?