“You used to be younger! You used to be shorter!” my 8 year old cousin Jake cried out to me in accusation this past weekend, “You used to play all day with us!”
I felt a pang of guilt as I remembered the times I had chosen to sit around and talk to grown-ups rather than run around with my younger cousins. “Have I turned into one of those lame adults now?”, I wondered to myself. It seems ever since Jake reminded me that I am not young anymore, there is another reminder after another reminder that keeps his words fresh in my mind – “YOU USED TO BE YOUNG!”
I still feel young most of the time. I feel the youngest and the oldest when I work in schools. With the staff I feel like this punk kid who does not know what to do or where to do it, yet to the students (the younger ones at least) I’m just “old”, and it’s fine and good for the job that I do.
The age I’m at now is a bit of a transition period. A part of me is still that carefree child who believes in things just “working out”; the other part is learning how to do all these grown up things that I relied on others to do for me so that things would just “work out”. The deeper I find myself engrossed in this transition, the more I realize that the illusive “adult” who always had it all together - and knew how to apply for VISA’s and book a dentist appointment - is really not so different from who I am today. I have realized the more human aspect of “The Grown Up”. They still have irrational emotions, unfulfilled dreams, and dreaded acne break outs (I thought of all things, I would have conquered the acne break outs).
People who know me well often comment that I am an old soul. To be honest, I often feel as if I am forty years old inside. I have not completely decided if this is an enviable quality or not. I suppose as long as it does not take away from the spontaneity of youth , and as long as I am happy and content with my forty year old interior (which I am). My conclusion, then, is this: that I am content at the stage I am at. It comes with its stresses and pressures – but what age doesn’t? I am going to try harder to spend more quality time with the little people in my life too; because life is short, and sooner than later they will be the ones in this transition realizing that they are more like the adults in their life than not – but still wishing all the while to be just a kid.