But I’m Just a Kid!

With June fast approaching, my birthday is right around the corner. I remember actually being excited about my birthday; now I feel like time is just flying by and I can’t seem to get a firm grasp on it. Mind you I will only be 23, but still. That’s a lot of years. I look around and wonder when I got to be TWENTY-THREE. That’s not old, but that’s not all that young. People are doing things at 23; they’re accomplishing, jet setting, starting lives, having babies, getting married (hopefully not in that order). 

I am an adult.

I realize I have been an adult for a while now, but once in a while it really dawns on me: I’m not 12 anymore, although I’m not quite sure when that happened. I have a life of my own, my own responsibilities. My mom and dad were married with a home at 22. I am not married, nor do I think that I am that close to marriage and I definitely don’t own a home nor could I afford one right now. Bummer. Some 23 year old I am. I’m a full-time student with a full-time job and lofty aspirations. That doesn’t sound all that adult-like to me. It sounds like a kid hiding in an adult’s body.

I think this mini panic attack that I’m currently experiencing (that most people probably experience at 40 or so) probably stems from the fact that I’m moving away next year. I constantly interact with people on an adult level through work, school, relationships, etc. and people treat me as an adult (because I am, obviously). I teach people, I sign legal documents and I am adult enough to commit to a life abroad for the upcoming year. But sometimes – just sometimes – I look around and wonder when everyone will realize that I’m just a kid. That’s my problem. I don’t feel like I’m 23, although I must say I’m not entirely sure what 23 feels like. I’m the same person I was when I was 10 with a little more experience under my belt. I look in the mirror and the same eyes I have been looking at for the past 23 years look back at me, relatively unchanged (although I have recently begun religiously using anti-aging cream as I have noticed some unwelcome fine lines crop up). When did this happen? When did people start looking to me for ideas, advice, and discussion? When did people start viewing me through the lens of adulthood? It’s such a bizarre thing, growing up. I don’t know if you ever really feel like a grown up. You feel like the same person you have always been with some extra responsibilities. Sure, I am financially independent; I have been that way for about 4 years. I am fortunate enough to be able to afford my own rent, food, tuition, etc. Yet despite writing monthly checks and taking on responsibilities, I have never magically felt like an adult. I suppose I assumed that a switch would go off at some point in my life, at which time I would realize that I have crossed that threshold into real life… I’ve crossed into that place, I know, but I have never felt that switch. Maybe that’s what I’ve been waiting for. I wonder if I will ever feel my age? Maybe everyone feels like they’re dressing up in costume and pretending all day when they go to work. Maybe people wonder the same thing: why is everyone looking at me as a knowledgeable person? I’m still growing up. Maybe it’s not just me. Or maybe my switch still hasn’t gone off and I still have a few more years to be a kid hiding in an adult’s body.


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