In my late twenties, we had friends in their 50s. One day I asked Betty at what point she had felt “grown up.” By then, I was thirty-ish, working full-time, raising a son, taking care of a home and married for ten years. I figured I ought to feel grown up.

Betty looked at me and said “I’ll let you know when it happens.”

When I was a kid, I remember wondering when I’d feel grown up. What the “magic moment” would be. Through my working years, I never entirely stopped feeling I was pretending to be an adult. I did adult things, had adult responsibilities. I was a mother, a boss, a career person. In charge of helping my son become a responsible citizen. Yet I still felt like a child.

Having a child made me responsible, but not mature. 

Now, I’m a senior citizen.

Not long ago, I realized I grew up. Somewhere between middle age and getting social security, I stopped being a girl. I’m not sure when it happened or, for that matter, why. The transition was seamless. Invisible. I don’t need to pretend I’m grown up. I am.

My bones tell me I’m mature. My heart reminds me every time I take medication. My body reminds me hourly — I’m not a kid. I rather like the me I became, though whether you think it’s good or bad is an interesting question.

Did maturity change me? I don’t know. Did it? Anyone know?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

20 thoughts on “GROWING UP”

  1. No idea, but food for thought. I think it hit me when I retired and the daily „have to“ stopped. My work and family always had me under control and suddenly I am alone at home. I always looked forward to it, but I was mo longer the same person. Something snapped on the way and acquaintances regarded me as „the old Mrs. Angloswiss“. There are some things that slip out of your control and you knew most people personally in the newspaper obits.


    1. Garry always reads the obits. I NEVER read them. I’m afraid I may be in them.

      You are right. I think likely for me it was ill health. I got really sick in 2002 and I really only started to recover a bit last year, after the heart surgery healed. These past couple of years have been the healthiest in a long time. I was really ill for years. Talk about losing control.

      I also FELT a lot older. My face aged. I could no longer walk fast. I lost any hint of spring in my step. Just surviving was the big deal in my world … and most of my friends were dead or far away. That will age you pretty fast!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Still read the obits but with less interest these days. A big part of me still feels “When I grow up” because of all the stupid things I say and do. Reality bites along with the aches and pains of my age.

        Death of family and friends also is a reminder that I ain’t a kid anymore. This has been a melancholy Christmas for me because of the subject matter and some things that await me.

        This is a fine piece but too close to home for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it hit me when this ‘older’ guy got on an elevator with me and said something about ‘people our age.’ I wondered who in the heck he was talking about! I might be older but I refuse to relinquish my spunk!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry Marilyn, I’m still a kid and just goofing around. The old bones may tell me differently but still don’t have many of the answers and still waiting for the wisdom to kick in. (Happy New Year to you both)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My brain has stayed hearty, but I don’t feel like a girl anymore. I feel grown up and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I feel like I have become what I was supposed to be. I’m not waiting to become myself anymore. I made it!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. That was the thing. I always felt like I hadn’t made it. I wasn’t an adult, even though I was going adult stuff. I always felt like a kid trying to pay very close attention or I’d lose it. Now, of course, if I stop thinking about it for half a second, I really DO lose it, but otherwise, I think I finished. I’m not waiting for the rest of me to come of age. I finally got there.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. As a teenager when I was taking dance I realized that most of the adults were just faking it. At that point I realized I could fake it too.


  4. My body tells me I am aging, the passing of family members just one generation above me should be a clue, yet I still feel young in my mind. Not having children and having responsibility for someones life probably plays a role. I am me, until the end. That’s all.

    Liked by 1 person

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