Saturday, February 13, 2010

A grownup life

Yesterday I turned 31. I am no longer dipping my toe in my thirties, I am now up to my waist. This birthday got me thinking about what it is to be a grownup. I suppose grownups have kids, a mortgage, and pay taxes. I do all of those things, but I still don't really feel like a grownup. About a week ago, my friend Jenn and I were talking about how much our lives have changed in such a short time. Eight years ago we were backpacking around Australia, hitchhiking in Tahiti, and skydiving in New Zealand. We were partying all night long without a care in the world. Now we are married with babies and jobs and bills. The only late night partying I do these days is the party Alice has at 3am every night which really is less of a party and more of a screamfest until the bottle is ready. Where does the time go? Have I become a grownup and didn't realize it? I have a daughter, a husband, a home, a dog and two cats. I even have Subaru for god's sake. I clip coupons, shop at Home Depot on the weekends, fall asleep during Jeopardy, and have to check my calendar before I commit to anything. Holy crap, I think adulthood has snuck up on me. When did this happen and how did I not realize that this epic transformation was taking place?
Don't get me wrong, I have welcomed all the changes that brought me to this point in my life. I don't regret no longer being able to stay up past 10 because I have to get up with the baby at 6. I don't miss paying rent instead of a mortgage. I certainly would not trade married life for the dating scene, or quiet evenings with the fam for the bar scene every night (though once in a while it is still nice!) I did my own thing in my twenties--I went out and conquered the world. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel, party like a rock star, and spend time living with my girlfriends. And it was a blast. I do occasionally miss the carefree feelings that come with being young and single and out in the world. The fleeting memory of sitting by a pool all day with the no other goals than getting tan, drinking beer, and playing Skipbo floats through my head and I remember how nice that was. But that is no longer my reality, and that is okay. My reality is spit up and dog hair and coordinating who is going to pick up the groceries. And believe it or not, that makes me happy! I did not come to this point in my life by surprise--I will not wake up one day and wonder how my life ended up like this. I made the conscious decision to live this life and I am proud of that. I did not get married on a whim or get pregnant by accident. Ever since I was little I have known that having a family was what I was meant for in this life. I have always known that I am not career oriented and I have always been okay with that, because I knew that my career would someday be just what it is now. That is not to say that I won't have other jobs, heck I am about to start working for pay again on Monday. But my career, the thing that I choose to devote my life to, is my family.
I have enjoyed every turn of the wheel--my childhood, full of playing and reading and school. My teens, when i thought high school would be the most fun i ever had. College, where i learned who I was and who I wanted to be. Traveling, which allowed me to discover life outside of America, meet interesting people and expand my horizons. Early married life, when i learned how to be a we instead of a me, and began to understand what love really means. And now motherhood--having the amazing responsibility of caring for this little person who depends on me for everything in life and who I love in a way I didn't know was possible. Realization time--I think that is what makes me a grown-up. I am embracing my life in my thirties for exactly what it is--a time to start my family and enjoy being a mom and wife. I will not spend this time mourning the girl that I once was and being afraid to be the grownup woman that I have become.
Being an adult is not your age in years, or being serious all the time, or paying bills. It is the realization that you are no longer just responsible for yourself and your own happiness. It is recognizing that we are all responsible for each other and that what we do affects many other people in many ways, whether it is your family, your coworkers, or your friends. It is being okay with who you are and looking forward to the person you are growing into.
So hello grownuphood. I embrace you, even though you snuck up on me. I look forward to all you have to offer. Hopefully you will be good to me, not giving me too many wrinkles and allowing me to avoid the fashion pitfalls that happen to many others when they embrace you (mom jeans, sensible shoes, and bubble hair). I am a grownup and it is great that I don't actually feel like one. Even though I am letting you in, please recognize that I will never be serious all of the time. I will never forget how to let my hair down and have fun. And I will always keep a part of me as that girl who stayed up all night to see the sunrise in Fiji.

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