When I think about 50 I think about my parents. Granted, my parents were in their 40’s when I was a teenager but I wonder how they did it. I mean, adults make it look easy. They are strong, and brave, and know just how everything fits together. They know how to handle their jobs, and their responsibilities, and their daily schedule. They do not have fears or anxiety or question their own purpose. They don’t struggle with issues about themselves or their identities. They have adult friends and they certainly don’t have any problems.
My friend Jodi has a blog and once wrote about being a successful grown up. Chronologically, I’m an adult. But am I a grown up? I appreciate Jodi’s summation of “just because I can doesn’t mean I should.” Last year I heard Jodi speak on this very subject. Being an adult means I get to choose my own bedtime. Being a grown up means I know when to go to bed because I have to get up to go to work tomorrow.
I’ve been thinking about this distinction and finding joy in my choices. And when I choose to do something – like eat ice cream right out of the container – because I can, I tell myself there is no guilt or shame in making that choice. Besides, it’s one less dirty dish to go in the dishwasher. Did my parents ever make silly choices because they could? I bet they did. But as adults with three kids, they kept the routine and the discipline in order to give us a guide and make us feel safe. They chose to be grown up for us, making it look easy. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, because at 50 I still feel like I’m faking it.
Simon and Garfunkel capture the sentiment in their 1967 hit.
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