Growing Up and Down, but never Out

13 Oct

With my 24th birthday fast approaching, I am increasingly noticing, and grappling with, the downsides of growing up. But please do bear with me. Because after depressing you with my talking points on this subject, I promise to re-elevate your serotonin levels by ending on a cheerier note. Here goes:

1) There’s no longer anyone responsible for you. And as enjoyable as being independent is, it can be staggeringly difficult to do everything for your self. For example, I was more than thrilled to receive my driver’s license (finally, after two failed attempts). But I now wish for a chauffeur to drive me to work, so that I can throw myself into the backseat and get five more minutes of sleep. An even more challenging aspect of self-reliance is that you are responsible for your own convictions. You can no longer go through the motions of life in a manner that appeases, or pleases, your parents. You have to do things because you believe they have meaning. And that requires a good deal of thought, self-reflection, and hard work.

2) You realize that there may not be a program, degree, or other nicely outlined path towards reaching your aspirations in life. For me, I want to be a writer. But attending journalism school won’t guarantee me a column in The New York Times; it’s unclear how writers for television shows make their big break; and quite frankly the wild popularity of Fifty Shade of Gray leads me to believe any novel I ever publish will have a cult following at best.

Image

Bailey

3) You stop feeling invincible. When my family’s Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese mix, Bailey, was a puppy weighing in at a mere 2 pounds, he was wholly unaware of his smallness. Our next-door neighbor’s pitbull, Gunner, once came onto our porch. Bailey eagerly skidded towards him, and began badgering him with his tiny paws, trying to pick a fight. Nowadays Bailey, who has since then put on quite a few ounces, is terrified of Gunner, and most other dogs. After a traumatic encounter with two very large dogs, he realized that he’s tiny, and could easily get hurt. It’s the same with us grown-ups. We realize just how mortal we are, and it’s scary.

Pippi

There is still a part of me that doesn’t want to grow up. I would like to share in Peter Pan’s refusal to leave Never Never land; take unconventional sea ventures and engage in uncouth behavior with Pippi Longstocking; and be surrounded by Christopher Robin and his beloved crew of animal friends. And that’s OK – good, even, because the greatest risk in growing up is losing our childish wonder.

On the other hand, the most worthy aspect of adulthood is gaining depth of character. But this only happens if we seek opportunities to mature. As I’m realizing more and more, an excellent way to mature is by addressing the issues I’ve laid out just now – taking responsibility for my actions and beliefs, relying on God and taking risks to achieve my aspirations, not on a program or degree, and using the realization that I have limited time to not waste anymore.

I like to think that when I reach old ladyhood, I will still be bursting with energy – heading up creative writing classes, organizing elaborate dinner parties, holding impromptu dance parties. And while I’m still on the road to being an adult, I refuse to lose my lightheartedness. I hope to maintain the tension between a sometimes childish excitement and a desire to grow.

As I continue to mosey into adulthood, I feel my diet mocha is appropriate for this transition period. The hot chocolate is a childhood favorite, while the coffee, and most likely the diet part as well, are ‘all grown-up.’ Oh, and it’s only 45 calories!!!

HD’s MOCHA

INGREDIENTS:

1 packet of Swiss Miss diet hot chocolate      

1 Tbs creamer

1 spoonful Splenda

3 cups coffee

DIRECTIONS:

Brew the coffee. Meanwhile, combine the hot chocolate, creamer, and Splenda in a large coffee thermos. Pour the brewed coffee into the thermos. Stir. Microwave 30 sec. – 1 min. if not quite hot enough. Sip up.

I don’t recommend tweaking this, to be honest. It’s heavenly.

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