When I was a kid I could never come up with an answer when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t have one. Now, at 31, my perspective on what constitutes “grown up” has shifted from ordering my own drinks at the bar to something less material; it’s less about passing fixed points in time and more about attitudes, but the question is, which ones?
I’m preparing to go to college for a degree that I hope will prepare me to start my own business. Naturally, I want that future business to be successful. I am prepared to devote many hours to my studies, sacrificing sleep, food, and leisure to attain my goals. Is ambition “grown up”?
I am also the mother of three kids. My style may not be what could be called socially normal, but I still devote much of my time and attention to my children. Since time is a finite resource, there are folks in the world who would argue that it is my duty to set aside my own ambitions and focus on providing for the ever-growing needs of my offspring. Is duty “grown up”?
I am married to the father of my children. He and I have been together for nearly eight years. I at one time thought we were so in sync that our connection was uncanny. The ever-present march of time and it’s forceful teaching of wisdom has made me suspect that I have spent less time loving the man himself in favor of pining for how I wish him to be. Because I have sunk everything I am into building a life with this man, I feel obligated to see my investments through to their ultimate conclusions, even though on an emotional level I want to walk away. Is approaching life with level-headed practicality “grown up”?
Maybe it would be better if I just relied on the definition of being a grown up that says I am one already, since I vote and pay my car insurance. Maybe the human animal relies so heavily on seeing significance in these otherwise unimportant moments in time to give an otherwise incomprehensibly complex reality some definition. If that’s the case, I have already arrived, and what I want to be is no longer the million dollar question. I think the new million dollar question should be, “What am I going to do about it?”.
I don’t know whether school is more important than anything else, or if I should set aside my ambitions and focus on providing the “best” for my kids; I don’t even know what the “best” is. My marriage is going through a decline. It might recover, it might not. Either way I’m not leaving it, so what the fuck does that leave me?
Whether I am growing up or there already is up for debate. What the hell I’m supposed to do with myself either way is also. In short, I have no fucking idea what I’m doing. Do you?