Thursday, May 24, 2012


I stood in front of the kitchen window in my apartment, looking out over the sunny courtyard and squishing cheese cracker dough between my hands and laying it out on the cookie sheets, watching the time, making sure the crackers would all be through the oven in time for my 2pm meeting, and that’s when it hit me square between the eyes.  I am an adult.
I don’t know when it happened.  I don’t know how it happened.  But I do know that it happened.  Sure as the sun was shining in the sky, sure as the robins were walking through the grass, I was an adult.
It hadn’t happened when I hit that magical number of 18 and was allowed to take my Girl Scouts places by myself (as long as I didn’t drive!). It hadn’t happened when I graduated high school and took a group of preteens overseas, though I was often expected to act like an adult and make adult decisions.  It didn’t happen at any point during college, no matter what life through at me, and it certainly didn’t happen on the day I walked across the stage and received my college diploma.  Yet somehow it still happened.
Here I am, an adult.

As I reflected on that I wondered what it meant. What does it mean to be an adult?  I looked it up in my dictionary (ie: I typed it into an online dictionary…same thing really...just don't type the word "Adult" into your search engine by itself...) and found these three definitions for the noun form:
1: a person who is fully grown or developed or of age.
2.a full-grown animal or plant.
3.a person who has attained the age of maturity as specified by law.
None of them really seemed to fit what was happening in me at that moment.  I had been full-grown for some time.  I had reached my full height in the 7th grade, much to my disgust. I did develop a little more after that as my body went through changes, but for sure by the end of high school I was fully grown...but yet I wasn't an adult then. Definition 2 simply didn't apply, as I am neither plant nor animal.  And the 3rd definition...well, I had reached that age a long time ago.  So what was it?

I think for me, the realization that I am now an adult, is a combination of the fact that major life changes are headed my way. I'm leaving school before finishing it because I want to switch to another school.  No one is forcing me, no one is saying no.  I'm also getting married.  Yeah.  Married.  Kids don't get married. But that still doesn't seem like all of it.  But it's for sure a part of it.
I'm changing schools, I'm getting married, I pay bills, I buy groceries, I go to meetings, I sometimes clean my house…I guess all these things make me an adult.

But there is part of me that doesn't want to be an adult yet, and a part that I hope never becomes an adult.  It's the part of me that keeps dreaming, keeps hoping, keeps creating.  It's the part of me that for a time can put aside the worries and cares of this world and dance.  That can stop and smell the flowers just because, that is free to be me.

Children are free like that.  Did you ever stop to watch children play on a playground?  The don't look around, always watching their backs to see who is following them, worrying about what comes next, the play with pure abandon, making friends with whoever seems to be there, living into the moment.  That's the part of me, the part that I want to keep as a child forever.

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