Growing Up is Hard to Do

After posting my New Year’s montage the comments from you, my readers, triggered a whirlwind of thoughts. One comment specifically from my friend over @ A Nut In a Nutshell mentioned how I appeared to be a bit of a party girl.

I used to be.

I used to party every night I could from the time I had my own car in high school until….well I grew up. Until sometime in my 20s I found that partying and going to the bars and dealing with all that minutiae was just that. CRAP. A load of bullshit and really, what was the point? What point was there to hitting the bar and drinking until buzzed or partially intoxicated? Fun?! What was so fun about making an ass of oneself? What was so fun about chugging water and taking B12 the following day, possibly even a Bloody Mary for a taste of the hair of the dog that bit you.

But I got over it. I got over the need to sow any wild oats, I got tired of the wasteful spending on alcohol, the running amok and doing what I wanted got old. Real. Fast. Why? Because from 18-25 I got to be me. I had the opportunity to evaluate crucial moments in my life, I lived, I effed up, A LOT, I learned, I was me, for me, and only me. What people don’t realize is how much really truly happens in the pivotal age range of 18-25:

  • Graduate High school and move out
  • Go to College, live on your own, maybe with roommates
  • Work first REAL job, maybe while attending college
  • Meet life long friends, or continue friendships forged previous to high school
  • Graduate college
  • Obtain first REAL job with college credentials
  • Gain life experience
  • Possibly buy first car, open first credit card, maybe buy a house
  • Do the walk of shame (maybe more than once)
  • Get arrested
  • Avoid getting arrested
  • Get married
  • Figure out what you are going to do with your life (generally at age 20 this comes to mind)
  • Figure out what you are going to be when you grow up
  • Meet a future spouse, or get engaged

As you can see a general and brief smorgasbord of events happen from the time you age from 18-25. However, some people never experience these events and the reason why is their life choices which makes their growing up experience much more different. Because their experiences will vary so greatly, their experiences during the pivotal age range will shape their adulthood beyond age 25. Even one (possibly two) bad decisions will transform your life.

The Chad was a wise young man when he shared these facts with me. He was maybe, at best, cresting 25 himself when he shared the fact of growing up to me when I was barely cresting 20. By the time I was 20 I had done almost everything stated above….except get married, figure out what I want to be when I grow up, have kids, I mean I was still a kid myself.

During the time of 18-25 you figure yourself out as a person. A singular person. No longer are you a child in your parents home. No longer are you a student in an “elementary” school, requiring your attendance. You are an adult. A singular being deciphering the game of life, day by day, moment by moment. Curfew is something for kids who “live at home” or at best “Minors” for the sake of calling a legal adult an adult. More time is spent with your friends in a non-parental defying manner. Responsibility is learned, respect, self-respect, boundaries, self-awareness, quite literally you become a person you never thought you knew you could be, were or are. All the while the only responsibility you had…was to yourself. No one else, not to your parents, just yourself, and self-discipline was actualized.

But some do not evolve in this same manner. They missed the polar age range of evolution into albeit adulthood. Because once you crown your late 20s and truly are a “20 something” finally certain life aspects begin to click, the biological clock begins to tick for some, the desire to settle down, the want to be more in life, want more out of life, the realization of some form of deprivation exists in your life. Some desired affirmations:

I want to get married
I want to have children
I want to buy a house, a Lexus, furniture
I want to remodel
I want to be and do more

You begin to sound and act like your parents in a sense. The way they might have acted before having children. The standard progression into “adulthood” if I may. I look back at my pictures that The Chad and I took and we did A LOT. We traveled, we partied (a LOT because we had the means), we bought lots of luxury cars before I was even old enough to receive the late 20s auto insurance discount, I bought a house, got credit cards that were maxed and paid off a lot, and shortly before I turned 25 I realized I wanted more.

So in my time frame I did a lot, I learned A LOT, I cried a lot, cursed growing up, was frustrated, pissed, confused, lost and found, but most of all I had fun. I had fun figuring out what the hell I was doing, where I was going, who I wanted to be, what I wanted out of life. I realized what I was and was not ready for, what I could and could not handle, the events that needed time and the events that needed to be put on hold. More so, I saw those who missed out. People who missed the 18-25 bus and did not get the chance to fail and succeed, live and learn, be an individual without anyone or anything tying them down, they missed out on being an “adult” and figuring out how to grow up. I found that I truly grew up, that my late teens and my earliest 20s were for fun. My mid-20s I started to have everything click, my late 20s I truly settled down. I had a son by this time, we bought another house, celebrated some wedding anniversaries, fell down and picked ourselves back up again. I am lucky I had my late teens and early 20s to figure life out by myself, no tie downs, no responsibility except to myself, no boundaries except my own, just me, by myself.

Now moving well into my 30s I can look back and laugh. I can enjoy my life of what I did, some of the mistakes I made and definitely learned from, the choice to marry when I did, have kids when I did, to look at the life I was leading and the life I wanted to lead. I grew up. I am still growing up. But now I can admit I know a lot of nothing, where before I thought I knew everything. I can also look back and know I have NO REGRETS. If I regretted any decisions I made, didn’t make, should have made, I would not be where I am today. What were your choices? Where are you in your life? Are you still figuring life out?

Here is a beautifully written post by my friend Jenine. You know her as Badger Momma, absolutely breath taking the way 18-25 can shape your life in one way or another.

3 Replies to “Growing Up is Hard to Do”

  1. I am with ya on having no regrets! I have done many stupid things in my years, but I dont regret any one of them because they shaped me into the person I am today!

  2. Thanks for linking me, Karie. That really means a lot to me. My husband thought that was really nice. He asked if he could read my post. He read it during dinner and liked it very much. 🙂

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