I realized that I am an adult. Several years back, when I first started teaching, I was challenged to write with the topic of, “When did you realize you were an adult?”. At the time, I was in my first teaching job and I lived with my parents. I decided to write on the theme of being a part-time adult. This idea stemmed from a checklist of things that I felt were adult traits. This list included having a full-time job, holding my own health care, car payments and insurance.
Looking back, my list was very naive. I felt that the role of an adult was simply a list of things – things that I could just cross off a list and accompany with age to finally be an adult. I know now that adulthood is a list of experiences, but also the resulting emotions. This makes sense when I consider observations that a young person who has been through a traumatic experience people comment that they had to grow up too soon.
But, back to the moment when I realized that I was an adult. I was thinking of my impending birthday as a moment of reflection on the past year rather than of expectations for the future year. This, I think is the true mark of adulthood. I think that when you can accept your future and take things as they come because you are genuinely enjoying that experience rather than rushing through to the main event makes your emotions very adult.
However, I was thinking recently that I’ve had a very adult year. I was married to my high school sweetheart. I moved into a house that I own. I created a home filled with things I had saved in my hope chest readying for adulthood. And, I lost my only known grandparent. But, my slice and what I’ve realize is my one little word is adult. I am an adult now because I know myself and I appreciate those people and experiences that made me this person. This is truly when I realized that I am an adult.