Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's Grown Up?

There were two school of thought, when your MatchGirl was young, gentle readers, on growing up.

The first: How freakin' amazing will it be when we're grown-ups? When no one can tell us what to do? When there are no rules?  Ooh. Or, better yet, when we make all the rules?

The second, immortalized by Peter Pan:
I won't grow up,
I don't want to wear a tie.
And a serious expression
In the middle of July.
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me
There has been loads and loads of chatter lately about how twenty-somethings are not growing up.  Your MatchGirl has written about it herself.  And I'm going to write about it again.

I read recently, over on PSFK, an article entitled "The Slow Path To Adulthood" - it cites, among other things, the high unemployment rate and the recession as reasons that adulthood is being delayed in the US right now.  The path our parents took - high school, moving out of their folks' house, (maybe) college, getting a job, getting married, having kids, retiring around 65 and watching the kids and grand kids do the same - just isn't the same path a lot of us are on.

I heard the authors of the book on the Leonard Lopate show that same day and, interestingly enough, they don't see this as a bad thing.  They see the longer, slower journey as something that's useful in the long run.  Healthy, even.

I don't disagree.  I would much rather have taken my time in finding Mr Right than be a 35 year old divorcee.  And, looking back at my past serious relationships, that could have happened.  I would rather have tried my hand at a few jobs, a few careers, in order to find the one that is the right fit, instead of getting into something at 20 and looking back with sadness on what might have been.  There are enough regrets in life without your job or your partner being among them.

I'm 35 years old.
When I was 25, I thought that I would be married by now.
I thought that I would have at least one kid by now.
I thought that my money worries would be less.
I thought that I would be living this very magical, very adult life.

Reality check, gentle readers.  While I am 35, and I am an adult, I am most certainly not living the life I had imagined.
I'm not married - though I am dating a really great man.
I don't have any kids - though I hope they're still in my future.
I still worry about money - though not in the paycheck to paycheck way I did at 25.
And, though my life is not the type of adult life I thought I would have - I think it's still pretty magical.

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