Tag Archives: dress up

Growing into Adulthood

17 Jul

We all wait for it. That blessed day when legally we can call ourselves adults and shed the yolk of having to listen to anyone about anything. We expect to immediately be considered equals to the rest of society and be able to command those who still reside below our status. We know that there are things that we are still deprived of, but often take liberties with them regardless. We are invincible.

It is not until a few years later, after a taste of the real world, possibly having to move back in with our parents (if we ever managed to move out) and overwhelmed by the new oppression of having to pay our own bills, do we begin to realize how very wrong we were.

I’ve gotten to a juncture in my life I know I’m not as wise as I once believed, but probably continue to believe myself wiser than I actually am.

There is one point I never completely figured out and continue, to this day, even in my mid-20s, to go back and forth over.

Let me utilize an anecdote to explain. This week I have been subbing in the school on the campus I work at. I am a behavioral health staff and generally work in the dorms, so returning to the educational environment has been interesting in its own right. I was leaving the building today after my last class and saying good bye to my supervisor as well as the school’s principal. My supervisor is only slightly older than myself and at this point I am comfortable using her first name while maintaining a respectful tone and vocabulary. I feel this is normal. Then I turned to the principal and her first name escaped my mouth (as I’m sure she would expect) and this overwhelming feeling of wrongness took immediate effect. Its been hours and clearly I am still considering the event since I’m here, feeling the need to expand and process.

Initially I wanted to blame it on the fact she is the principal and I was raised to use the utmost respect to those with authority. However, I realized that to some degree throughout the day, it had happened with other teachers I was working with. Changing classes, in the lunchroom, discussing the next period, etc. This could still be contributed to merely the school setting and perhaps I have some complex leftover from high school which I never resolved. Unfortunately, upon even further reflection, I must admit it happens often. Anyone outside of say a decade of my age, I automatically want to address as Ms./Mrs/Mr. so-and-so.

Perhaps with each passing generation this is less and less of an issue. Perhaps it isn’t even an issue with my generation and it is just leftover psychological static from my own personal life. Perhaps, but I think to some degree it is not just me.

I truly believe the root of it is that I have not fully grown into my adulthood yet. I still feel like a child playing dress up more often than I would like to admit. I feel as if I have been presented with a series of responsibilities and accepted them to make others happy without full commitment to my ability to assume them. I still feel a mixture of pride and surprise every time I manage to handle with grace something that is so completely “adult.”

Part of me never wants to encounter the day that this doesn’t happen. I like the idea I have managed to maintain some level of innocence from my childhood. I like that not all of me had embraced what society has defined as adultness because that means that I still have some growing up to do. And THAT means that I am not stuck this way, I can change, I must change, and I will change. I accept that with that change may come a breaking down of some of the things I enjoy about myself sometimes, but hopefully more of that change will be a reduction of the things I don’t, replacing them with more of the positive and uplifting.

It is an awkward feeling to know others see you as their equal (for the most part) but still feel that you aren’t quite deserving of that regard yet. Awkward, but encouraging. It gives you something to work towards, to strive for. It is a source of pride for the good things you have done and continue to do while creating a subconscious goal you want more than anything to achieve. Goals are what keep us going, keep us working, keep us accountable. They are one of the most important pieces to this crazy, convoluted puzzle.