Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Does this mean I'm a Pirate now?*

When did I become a grown-up?

When I was a child, my mother always joked that I was 5 going on 30, 10 going on 40, etc. I was then, and still am to a degree, a very serious little person. I was taught to read by the time I was 2 1/2. I spent most of my days around adults (I am the oldest child in my family), and very little time with other kids my age. I loved school, because I couldn't wait to meet my teachers and learn something new.

Don't get me wrong... I wasn't that freaky kid who couldn't relate to other children. I just preferred to be around adults. I preferred to read higher level books, rather than Dr. Seuss or Ramona Quimby. In fact, I think I've gone back as an adult to read a lot of children's books... and I have a much greater appreciation for them now.

Everyone-- including my teachers, friends of parents, etc.-- were always commenting on how mature I was for my age.

For all the 'maturity' I seemed to have as a young person, I look back now and wonder... when did I really grow up? For as much as I can tell, I don't think I was all that mature. My guess is that I was just a pretty good actor... I even had myself fooled. And I think that pseudo-maturity led me to make some not-so-great decisions, because I thought I was mature enough to handle it all.

Probably the biggest error in judgement was getting married at 19. WHAT was I thinking? I had no idea who I was, what I wanted in life, where I wanted to be in 10 years, etc. By about age 25, I was sitting in my home one day, 2 children later, and feeling really miserable. My marriage was on a slow-but-steady-downward spiral. I loved being a mom, but I was also still a kid (No offense to those of you who are 25 or younger... you'll eventually know what I mean, though). I often remark that my oldest daughter, whom I had at age 20, and I grew up together.

I wasn't a great mom then. I'm so much more patient and understanding now... and a lot less selfish. And you know what? I have to be completely honest with you. So many more things/concepts/ideas make sense to me now. I've always been pretty good at making connections, but now... it's like a window that has been fairly cloudy has finally cleared up, and I can see things so much more clearly.

I'm not sitting here, professing that, at age 37, I am this wise, old sage. It's just that, well... it's a rather liberating feeling sometimes. Looking back, seeing your mistakes, remembering your good choices, and being able to see the impact on your life... how they all formed who you are NOW is something I just never expected. It's not like you wake up one day with this epiphany... it's more of a slow, gradual process.

So everytime I worry that I'm getting old, everytime I sweat the fact that my 20th high school reunion is quickly approaching (summer of 2007-- groan!), I also secretly relish that I'm not that girl I used to be. It's okay to get a few wrinkles. It's okay to look in the mirror and see things sagging where they never did before. Honestly, the payoff of getting older, of "growing up," is sooooo well worth it.

*All grown-ups are Pirates.


Anonymous said...

Um, Britney much?

Not a girl not yet a woman?

I'm ashamed I know that.

don't call me MA'AM said...

hannah: we don't talk about crazy b-girl here. ;-)

And I haven't been a girl for quite some time now, so... I'm definitely a woman. Gah. I can't believe you compared me to that nutjob! ARrrrrgggghhh!

othur-me said...

Yes, Peter Pan, you are now a Pirate. And if you counted by un-birthdays you would be a very old one.

Jaek said...

Welcome to the world of Mature Enlightenment...I had my revelation earlier this year. It gives you a little bit of confidence and peace of mind.

Margaret Ann said...

I think that the older I get, the less I know for sure...but I actually think that a wiser attitude than my "mature" younger days. Real growing up takes life experience and that may well be the (only) upside to getting older.
I enjoyed your thoughts.

goldennib said...

Yippee, I love pirates.

I could have written this. I fooled everyone, too. While I had a VERY good time when I was younger, I wouldn't go back to being that person. I feel so much more at ease now.

What I find ironic, is that now I am told to grow up. I love that.

Stinkypaw said...

Growing older certainly feels good, when you realise what you have... and you seem like a woman who knows what's what.

Sparkling Cipher said...

I catch myself calling teenagers who do stupid stuff, "dumb kids." Then I remember just how dumb I was not so long ago. I'm glad I'm past that stage now, but I can't help wondering what dumb stuff I do right now that I'll shake my head over in another ten or fifteen years.

A little off-topic - I see on your sidebar something about seeing 11:11 everywhere. Does this mean something? I've been asking people about this forever because I have days at a time where I will look at the clock at exactly 11:11 every day. Seriously, it freaks me out. Nobody seems to understand why I might think it's some kind of sign.

And my sweetie talks in his sleep, too. It's hilarious.

don't call me MA'AM said...

othur-me: arrr, matey. :-)

jaek: the older I get, the more 'revelations' I have. Either that, or maybe I should stop drinking so much. ha! just kidding.

margaret ann: exactly. The more you learn, the more you discover you don't know hardly anything. Thanks!

goldennib: you sound like my husband. He's a very big kid, but in a good way (most of the time).

stinkypaw: Thanks! I hope I know what's what most days.

sparkling cipher: I have to be very careful around the 20 somethings I work with NOT to call them kids. I hated that when I was their age... and technically speaking, I'm not THAT much older than they are.

I see 11:11 everywhere. Clocks, timestamps... everywhere. It freaks me out. I'm going to be a very paranoid chica on November 11. I don't know if that's what it means, but I'm definitely nuts about this!