What are the things that make you realise your age? When do you know that you are Grown Up?
We are in the process of buying our first house, and I’ve realised, there is nothing like having a mortgage advisor and a solicitor to make you feel like an adult. You would have thought having two children would have been the final nail in the preverbial ‘you’re not a kid yourself anymore’ coffin, but apparently no. Some part of me must still have thought I was young, carefree, not quite grown up yet, because this whole house-buying process has made me feel even more grown up.
We tend to notice the big moments, the significant events. Gradution, getting married or getting a new job or getting a promotion, buying our first house or having a baby. We notice them for a reason, for big moments can mark big change in our lives, and change that happens all at once.
I suppose it’s the same with our achievements and our work. We notice the day a project finally gets completed. We notice when we accomplish something big. We notice when we cross the finish line. But it took a lot of small steps to get us there, and the same can be said about growing up.
I have this strange memory of being a kid (I must have been about eight or nine years old) and it suddenly dawning on me that adults didn’t ‘pretend’…and that meant that one day I would stop pretending too. It was a very clear realisation that as I got older I would lose the ability (or the interest) in playing pretend. I remember thinking this and feeling slighty scared, because pretending was the funnest thing ever when I was eight and the thought of losing this ‘special ability’ was devastating.
I don’t remember the last pretend game I ever played. I don’t remember a moment when I decided I was too old to pretend… It happened slowly, without a big moment. But it did happen just as I foresaw. And now I have to admit that even when my kids want me to play pretend with them, I really don’t want to anymore.
We lose certain abilities slowly as we get older. And we gain abilities slowly too. Strength. Responsibility. Wisdom. These things rarely come in a big moment. Most often, they come slowly, in little steps, in an accumulation of a thousand moments over the vast days of our lives.
So maybe it’s the accumulation of these experiences which “grow us up”.
Maybe TIME and AGE have very little to do with it at all.