It wasn’t what I expected. For some reason when I was little I thought all I have to do is survive until I am 18. Then life would be perfect. I would be all grown-up. I would answer only to myself. I would be respected. I would be content. I would stop searching. I would know that this is where and when I was supposed to be.
As a little girl I knew just how my life would be. I would graduate high school and viola be a grown up. I would have a great job (without any training mind you). I would have a home, a husband who doted on me and children who were well-behaved, respectful and put me on the throne I deserved to be placed upon.
I had no idea that the throne would end up needing to be cleaned so often. With bleach. But I am getting ahead of the story.
I turned 18 but had a few more months of high school. No moving out for me. I did not apply to college, who knew there were deadlines? Instead I ended up at a community college for about two months. I met a boy.
Boys. I tell you it all goes wrong with boys. I thought for sure this was my prince. And he was for a few years. One would think that moving in with a boy made you all grown up. But it doesn’t.
The boy disappointed. I am sure the girl disappointed him as well. We failed one another and we moved on. I was sucking at this grown up thing. The silver lining years later was knowing that while we failed we did not mess up one another. We didn’t make the mistake of getting married and having children with a partner who really never could be the partner we needed.
A few years go by. I get my act together with a real job and a semi-real apartment. (Man I miss that apartment). I met a man. A good man. A man with a house. A man with a job and savings and a budget. He was (I thought) grown up. We dated. We got a dog. We moved in together. I learned he wasn’t quite grown up, but neither was I.
We got married. Had a child. Built our dream home. Continued working at a job I enjoy. I went back to college and although that did not change my career. We had another child. The
first child dog went to doggy heaven. A few years went by and we got another dog.
I hit the big 4-0 more than a few years ago. Certainly now I am a grown up, right? Except I am still not. I worry if people like me. If I am accepted. I still am looking for that magic wand that makes life a fairy tale. I worry that I am failing this life. That I am failing that man and the child and the dog. Yes, I worry that I am failing the freaking dog. I need reinforcement from friends and family that I am doing a good job. I worry that I am not career-orientated enough, that I will never succeed or move “up the ladder”. I lose sleep over knowing I am not the parent I am supposed to be. I try to give my best and wonder if I will ever be good enough. At anything.
The most unexpected part of being a grownup is that I never feel I am one.