On Birthdays and Becoming an Adult
I turned 23 on a Monday. Twenty-three is that age right on the cusp of true adulthood and nothing says adulthood like having a birthday on a Monday. Twenty-two is forever associated with Taylor Swift and college. Twenty-four sounds like you have a real job with health insurance, or marriage, or at least owning a dog. But 23. It’s just right there in between. Like 11 and 19. What happens when you’re 23? Is it the Cinderella moment? Will my fairy godmother appear and bippity boppity boo! I’m an adult?!
My birthday fell on Monday this year so my roommate and I celebrated on Sunday. We did mundane normal Sunday stuff. We went to church, found a coffee shop, did school work, walked around, took pictures, ate Thai food and finished the day off with Dairy Queen. Other than the Thai food, that’s a pretty average Sunday for us.
My actual birthday was pretty mundane too. I worked like usual. Made a lot of phone calls like usual. But my family called to wish me a happy birthday. Two of my athletes sang happy birthday to me as soon as I got to work and just about everyone else remembered (thanks, Facebook). My boss got me mini chocolate cupcakes (I ate so many). My family mailed me birthday cards. I got off work at a decent hour, I cooked myself dinner, I watched Netflix, and I ate more cupcakes. All in all it was good day, not a great day, but certainly not a bad day.
But you know, I’m really freaking excited to be 23. I feel like I’m finally over that initial post college “slump” and I’m ready to be an adult (or something like that). Ever since I started college I’ve been wondering at what point does someone become an “adult.” Some say it is when you turn 18, but no feels like an adult when they are 18 (at least I didn’t). When does one suddenly get that “adultness” about them? And where does it come from?
Quite a few people have told me that no one ever really becomes an adult, that we’re all just figuring it out. We’re all just high functioning 17 year-olds. I refuse to believe that. I do not want to just be a slightly more subdued version of my confused, delusional, self-centered 17 year-old self. That would be terrifying.
I feel that adultness though. I wouldn’t say that I suddenly have all the answers or that I suddenly have unshakeable confidence. I still don’t enjoy running errands or doing laundry or waking up early. I don’t enjoy taking charge of situations and I’m still not entirely sure how to do my taxes. I’m still me. I still eat obscene amounts of peanut butter, binge-watch “New Girl,” and misplace my cell phone twice a day. I’m definitely still figuring it out but I’m not figuring it out the same way I did when I was 17 (Thank the Lord!).
Now I’m a lot more comfortable when life is uncomfortable.
I’ve found that inner voice that is always speaking fear and anxiety kind of just becomes a murmur in the background.
I look in the mirror a lot less.
I’d rather fail than regret.
I find some satisfaction in knowing I got the little things done and taken care of.
I’ve found life is a lot less stressful when you put in the work and wash the dishes everyday and do laundry more than once every two weeks.
I’ve realized there will always be people watching me, and counting on me, and depending on me. So it’s my responsibility to be better than I was yesterday.
I’ve learned loneliness can’t exist when I’m pouring into others.
I’ve learned that darkness does not have power over me.
I’ve learned to trust the process, to lean into the struggle, to persevere, because I’ve lived enough to know victory is on the other side.
I ask for help (all the time).
I know that my hair, my makeup, and my clothes, do not determine what people think of me.
I know when to keep my mouth shut, and when I do open it, it’s usually to admit I was wrong.
I’ve finally been freed from the lie of “stuff and success” because I’m satisfied with less.
I know to enjoy the little moments because they are what make the milestones so wonderful.
I know the power of prayer, of surrender, and faith.
Above all I’ve learned to depend solely on my sustainer, my provider, my strength, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In a time of not having very many shoulders to lean on, He carried me.
And so, I’m really excited about being 23. Not because of what I will receive, but because of what I can give and learn and become. We’ll never have it all figured out, and life would be boring if we did. In fact, the adults I respected the most weren’t the best dressed, didn’t make the most money, they weren’t always the smartest, they weren’t the most eloquent, they didn’t always have big houses or fancy cars. No, they were humble, no matter their position in life. They were kind to everyone. There were selfless even if it hurt them. They were steadfast amidst trial. They were never trying to be anything other than they what they were meant to be. I’m excited to keep figuring it all out as a 23 year-old.
[Photo by Julie Bloom.]
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