Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A certain age

Age is a funny thing. People seem to want to classify each other in terms of age, use age as a life marker or milestone. And we never seem to be content with the age we are. When I was 16, I couldn't wait to be 18 so that I could be an "adult." When I was 18, I couldn't wait to turn 21 so that I could [legally] drink. And when I finally turned 21, I wanted to to be 25 because I thought that that was the magic number...the age at which you suddenly gain wisdom and maturity, the age at which a great job and boyfriend fall into your lap, when all of life's questions are magically answered and you know exactly what you want to do with your life.

Well let me tell you something: age aint' nothin' but a number.

I am now 26 years old, a law school graduate with no desire to practice law, a penchant for men who live long distances away, and a strong desire to move across the country and live on the beach. I am by no means the responsible, gainfully employed, one-half-of-a-couple adult I thought I'd be by now. None of life's questions have been answered for me. I didn't suddenly wake up one morning and realize what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; if anything, I have more questions now than I did at 23.

And you know what? I'm fine with all that. I truly am. I know that one day, things will fall into place for me and I'll be content. But until that happens, one of the most difficult aspects about not knowing where I'm going will be watching everyone else's lives fall into place. Here I am, debating whether to drive across the country with no job, no apartment, and no money, and my best friend is working 12 hour days for one of the biggest corporations in the world and planning her wedding. Friends from law school are in a position to turn down job offers while I want to pursue a career I didn't go to school for. Everyone seems to be getting engaged and moving in with their significant others, and all I can think about is how much I love sleeping in my own bed! (I have no desire to fight over who left towels on the bathroom floor, what's wrong with me?!) Where is the guidebook for this kind of stuff? Where is the manual that explains how to deal with being the maid of honor when you're single? Where is the Dummies guide to moving back in with your parents and easing the boredom by baking cookies? And my God, the amount of cookies and cakes and biscuits I've baked since I've been home...

But guess what? There is no guidebook. There are no answers. Being gainfully employed doesn't necessarily make you responsible. Turning 25 or 32 or 48 doesn't make you an adult. There is no magic wisdom that you suddenly wake up with upon turning a certain age. You make it up as you go along and hope it's the right decision. And if it's not, you try and fix it. You don't hide, you don't blame others, you you take responsibility for your decisions and you move on. And THAT is what makes you an adult.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Turning 32 doesn't make you an adult? Shit.