|image by Curious Bino via Unsplash|
Growing up, I didn't have many friends my age. I tended to hang out with the adults around me at school or at church, and when I thought about what it was like to be a grown up, I thought of freedom. They could do what they wanted, they had interesting jobs, and they were far away from the awkward puberty years. Now that I'm 27 and well beyond those rose colored glasses, I see that there are a lot of great, fun, and cool things that come with being an adult, but there is a lot more to being a grown up than just doing what you want.
During one of our quiet but busy afternoons, my colleague was doing a bit of thinking out loud and gave the most concise definition of being an adult I've ever heard.
Being your own parent and monitoring yourself. That's what being an adult is.
There have been days where I eat way more ice cream than the recommended portion size, and you know what? It's not the end of the world. I haven't gained a noticeable amount of weight from it (yet). Really, taking the liberty to splurge occasionally isn't going to harm anything, just like spoiling a child every once in a while won't ruin their character. But moderation, truly, is key. And balance. And knowing when you've had enough. Stepping up to yourself when you have to. Saying no when you really want to do something that's not good for you or others. Dealing with the consequences of your decisions, sometimes alone.
It's kind of a funny concept, being the kid and the parent wrapped into one person, and I know that inner dynamic doesn't go away just because an adult has their own kid, either. From what I've seen, all adults get to keep that tension for as long as they live. I do think those who live longer may realize that it's worth it to allow yourself to be the kid more often than not. Maybe that means I'm trying to get a head start on aged wisdom, then, when I have that second helping of ice cream.
What does it mean to you to be an adult? What are some expectations you've had to readjust? I'd love to hear in the comments!