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?