I recently had a “holy crap” moment. I registered for the GRE to get into graduate school after graduation, and I suddenly realized that full-fledged adulthood was swiftly coming for me. And honestly, it kinda scared me. A part of me doesn’t feel ready. A part of me feels like I will never be ready. Another part of me feels like I’m behind everyone else, in school, life, relationships, or accomplishments. At this point a year from now I will, in all likelihood, be in graduate school at age 24. I will probably get out around 25 or 26. Then just 4 short years after that, I’ll be 30. Will I be married? Will I have kids? Will I be working where I want to be? Will I still have the same friends as I do now? Will I be as close to my best friends as I am now? The thoughts of all this coming change threw me for a loop.
We all have to grow up at some point or another. As much as we wish we could go to Neverland and join the Lost Boys or Pirates and never grow old and never tire of adventure, we can’t. Life won’t let it happen. The problem with the term “growing up” is that often it’s unfairly combined with “boring”. Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean you’re boring, or that you have to be boring. The mark of maturity in my eyes is not being boring, it is knowing when it’s time to be and when it’s time to not.
My friends are getting married or are married. We’re all going to become busy and grow apart, either in distance or in circumstances. The best friends that I’ve been with since high school will become the friends I see a couple of times a year, or maybe even less. The friends I’ve made here will move away, or I will. The experiences and places I’ve become so comfortable and confident in while in college will be faded away and replaced by the new and the unknown and the uncomfortable, and I, along with everyone else, will just have to deal. It’s part of growing up.
At the end of the day, I know that growing up isn’t a bad thing. It’s life, and it definitely has it’s perks of it’s own. The real mark of growing up is how you handle it and how you look at it. Either you dread it and refuse to accept it and end up struggling and wasting it, or you look at it as a new chapter, and a new opportunity to tackle new challenges. Growing up, and living, is an adventure within itself, and too often we don’t think of it that way. I hope that I always think of it that way.