When you turn 18, you become an adult. You can vote, you can fight for your country, your parents are ready to send you off to college or maybe just give you the bill for the last 18 years and send you on your way. You’re supposed to be grown up.
Well, its been ten years since I turned 18, and I feel anything but grown up. If a child ran up to me saying they needed help and looking for an adult, I’d have to say “Oh! Me too! Let’s look for one together.”
You see, I’m not a grown up.
I still sleep till 11am on Saturdays. I hate having to put my sheets back on my bed after I wash them, so I’ll just sleep on the mattress for a few months until I decide its finally time. Not to mention real grown up things I have yet to figure out. Health insurance? What? Can’t understand it. (But maybe no one can?). My 401k? I have one. I know what its for. How exactly it all works? No idea. Was really hoping for a husband to take control of that one.
Sometimes I look at my parents and I think “How do you know how to do all of this?”. Growing up as a kid I thought they knew everything. I would ask them a question, and they had an answer. It seemed like somehow, they had all of the knowledge in the world.
But as you get older you realize that in reality, your parents had no clue what they were doing.
Parenting? I’ve never been a parent before but I expect that you get in the car to leave the hospital, look in the backseat, then look at one another and say “Do you know what you’re doing? No? Me neither.” Health insurance? 401ks? Buying a house? Getting a loan? They had no clue. Until they had to do it.
That’s what I’ve come to realize. It wasn’t so much that those “grown ups” that we look up to did it any better than we are. They learned what they know about the world from many of the same experiences that we’re having now.
In fact, some of what they know is from failing at the experiences that we’re having now.
They weren’t somehow born with a whole host of wise advice. They just experienced life first.
And really, they haven’t finished growing up either. Every stage of life brings new challenges and new experiences we have never had before. Past experiences might equip us for the next ones, but they never stop coming. There will always be more to learn, and there will always be someone who went through it before us that we will look at and say “How did they know how to do this?”.
The truth is, we’ll never really be “grown up”. If we’re waiting to feel like we have it all figured out, we’ll be waiting, literally, forever.
So let’s all give ourselves some grace, take what we’ve learned from our experiences so far, and move forward in life knowing we’ll never stop learning. There will always be a new experience right around the bend, and we’ll all just figure it out as we go.
We may not even realize how far we’ve come, or how wise we’ve become, until one day, someone looks at us and says “How do you know how to do this?” Little do they know, its only a matter of time before they know how to do it, too.