You know those moments when you all of the sudden realize that… well, you’re actually kind of old? Like, you’re a real grownup?
I had one of those the other night.
I was eating dinner (by myself, with a glass of wine) when my phone rang. (Actually, that was a lie. My phone didn’t ring—it blasted out a Nicki Menaj ringtone, which only goes to show that some part of me still believes I am 16 years old.)
It was a friend of mine whom I hadn’t talked to in awhile.
“Hey, Therese. I have some news for you,” she said.
“HOLY HELL,” I shouted. “What are you gonna d—”
I immediately stifled my knee-jerk response.
“I mean, CONGRATULATIONS!”
“Thanks!” she said. “Aaron and I have been trying for awhile now. I’m so excited…” We chatted for awhile longer and discussed the pros and cons of breastfeeding and whether she should use cloth diapers or disposable.
“Hey, I gotta go now, though,” I told her. “I hafta get my laundry out of the dryer before it gets all wrinkly. Celebrate soon?”
I put my phone down and stood in the middle of my kitchen.
You know, the kitchen that’s inside the home I pay a mortgage on every month.
Slowly, it all began to sink in.
Not only do I pay a mortgage, but I drink single glasses of wine with my dinners.
I stay home and do laundry on work nights.
And when my friend announces she’s pregnant, the proper response is “Congratulations,” not “WTF.”
I looked around in confusion, feeling as if I might faint at any second.
I think I’m a real adult.
When in the hell did this happen!?
I’m 27 years old, for goshsake, and yet I still have days like this all the time. I honestly have no idea when, exactly, it became normal to drink two cocktails instead of 12 (or even to call drinks “cocktails,” for that matter). I still look around in confusion when I hear people tell their kids to “watch out for that lady!” in the grocery store.
There are a lot of confusing things about being an “adult”— for example:
- How in the heck do you do taxes?
- What do you wanna “be” when you grow up?
- When do you get to take summer break?
- Why do high school kids still look like they’re 12?
Among all the weird questions that are swirling around in your head, though, I think there’s one that beats out all the others.
In fact, it might be the most important question that you ever ask of yourself.
That question is simply this:
Who are you meant to become?
When you look back on your life as a wrinkly old lady (or man), will you be satisfied with the way you lived your life? Will you be proud of the actions you’ve taken and of the decisions you’ve made?
At your funeral, will people talk about how you always had perfect hair or how you could get into all the clubs? Will they talk about what car you drove or about how cool your Facebook statuses were?
No way. In fact, having perfect hair or owning a Lamborghini sound kind of stupid when you look at things from this perspective.
So what will they talk about? What would you be proud to hear people say?
What kind of a person are you meant to become?
Ask yourself this question every day. Ask it when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. Ask it when you’re with other people and when you’re alone with yourself. No matter what you’re doing, ask yourself this question and strive to live up to your own answers.
Because in the end, the question isn’t whether or not you’ll become an adult. Like it or not, you’ll soon be going to bed at 10 PM and telling your kids to eat their broccoli. Like it or not, you will inevitably become a “real adult.”
The more important question is, what kind of an adult will you become?
# # #
Not how you think.
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