One of my favorite questions to ask of my junior high
students is: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I get all kinds of fantastic answers….the most famous being “a raper” when he meant to write “a rapper.”
And all kinds of cute ones like “A man of God” “A good mom” “A ninja”
When are we technically “grown up?” Is there a marking period? When I was in high school, I think I thought it was when I was legally able to order a drink. When I was in college, I thought it was 25, and I thought by then I would have a husband, kids, a fabulous career I’d put on hold to make sure Junior adjusted well to preschool.
When I hit 25, I think I thought it was when I had a career, and I’d put that husband and toddler on hold.
Now I’m 27, and I’m still trying to figure it out. Does it ever feel “figured out?”
I’m teaching full-time, I’m in school about 30 hours a week to get a credential to be legally allowed to teach in California, but if you asked me if I wanted to teach for the rest of my life, I don’t think I could give you an honest straight answer.
And is a career the benchmark for “grown-up-ed-ness?”
If its a relationship…well….the most steady relationship I have right now is with my MacBook and the super intense feelings I have developed for him.
If its having children….I do consider myself mom to about 120 junior highers every day. They come to me in tears, with jokes, wanting to share the latest scar or love found or lost. I praise the mundane and lament the pitiful. I know its not the same…I didn’t feel them in my belly or watch their first steps. But I am there for a lot of “firsts…” first loves, first zits, first braces on, and then off….first time they got an A on something.
I can’t solve any of these things. So instead I go out to dinner with mom and eat pizza and drink wine. Then I come home and make playlists and watch Xfiles dads. And I’m supposed to be packing for a weekend retreat to Santa Cruz with my church high school group. But there is something exciting in leaving it all til the last minute.
In other news, my moonshine is bottled and fermenting in my closet. My fish keeps playing dead so I will clean out its bowl. I’ve started waking up early every morning to work out but it makes me sleepy. I found out I’m allergic to chives (by eating them). My favorite song is that “dancing in the dark” nonsense.
October 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm
I think the secret to really being happy is never fully letting yourself “grow up”, I totally agree with the spirit of your post, that “growing up” is something we define for ourselves. The societal belief is essentially that you stop having fun and start being serious all the time. If that’s growing up, screw it, I’ll be a kid til I’m 80.