I have been thinking a lot recently about adulthood. Yes, this is indeed an introspective post. A post that some would liken to a journal entry. No, it’s not. If you think these are the things that I scribble by hand, then you have missed the depth of me.
I guess part of it has been prompted by the fact that it’s recently come to my attention that I don’t appear my age. I’ve been accused of being a recent high school graduate twice in the last month (9 years ago, sir!). When I share the story, I noticed that people don’t understand why I am annoyed at this assumption. In it’s simplest form, I’ve always liked being taken for who I am, not who you think I am.
In a more elaborate form, I have already been all of those things – Irresponsible, eighteen, just-bought-my-first-car, just-paid-my-own-rent, completely impressionable, completely inexperienced. None of these still apply to me. I do know what I want. I have experienced a lot. I have been irresponsible. I have been just eighteen. When you look at me, and assume I am in need of guidance, at a loss from my inexperience, you disqualify all the blood, sweat, angst, tears and hours of listening to the wisdom (and foolishness) of others that went into the struggle of developing into my OWN person.
No, you do not take away the experience or the growth, but you don’t appreciate it. I like appreciation, I do. I like acknowledgement, I do. But more than that, I want to speak to you as I am – because it’s taken me twenty-seven years to get here.
Someone recently accused me of not wanting to try something new, because I wouldn’t let myself approach something from a different perspective. However, it was an untruth. I am not a child. I can grow (Lord, I do hope I will grow!). However, because of these twenty-seven years – I know myself. I know what I can handle, and am often disappointed because I WISH I more gracefully handled more. Back to the however…I know what I want. There are a great many unhealthy situations I am not attracted to because I can now recognize something for it’s worth in my life. I am not twenty, so while I agree with the Saying Yes model of pulling myself out of a funk, I more strongly agree with the Saying What’s Best for Me. I don’t have to experience everything that is not attractive to me to experience new things. Growth and challenge do not come from wandering into situations that go against my convictions, from denying what I am committed to developing.
The odd difference between my abstinence (in the Churchy sense, and also in a general experience sense) now and four years ago is the deeper roots that motivate my steadfastness. Four years ago, I held back due to the fear, the unknown, and shame of possibly being known. Now, when I hold back, it is because of Conviction, Hope for better and Respect for those who disagree. I regret that the action can be mistaken for the same motivation, but I don’t regret that I have roots that need not water from YOU to keep me looking for the best path.
By the way, yes – folks, I am twenty-seven years old. Not twenty-two.