Hello lovely friends,
How often in our lives do we think, “I have arrived!” I’m guessing not often, for most of us. We see ourselves on a path, a journey to somewhere, but is there any “getting there?” Or do we just keep moving the goalposts?
I’m at a strange age right now – 60. I’m entering a stage of life where I’m no longer young, yet I don’t feel old. I suppose I’m on the brink of being a “senior citizen,” but I don’t yet embrace that identity. My grandmother, who lived to be 96, used to tell me that you always feel like the same person inside. I imagine her son, my 98-year old dad, feels the same. Even he doesn’t seem “old” to me.
Many of my students are also in one of these “between” stages – no longer a kid, but not quite feeling like an adult, not just yet. For many of them, it’s a time to experiment with being grown up, but they can still rely on family for support. Others find themselves having to practice adulthood before their time, before they’d ideally like to. Some of them are still searching for a soft place to land.
We have this cultural joke that “adulting is hard.” I remember really feeling like a grownup when I bought my first brand-new car, all by myself, without anyone else’s consent or advice. I chose the model and color I wanted, financed it myself. These events are scary, but also really liberating – a lesson in trusting oneself.
Perhaps that’s the mark of maturity – self-trust. We’ve all been let down, and wondered if we can ever trust others again (especially after a romantic failure), but I think the key to “moving on” lies in trusting yourself. I’ll choose better next time. I won’t be fooled next time. I will learn to be wary, in a healthy way, to ask for what I need, to refuse to be bullied or ignored.
The next stage of life is uncharted territory, but I’m so much wiser than I used to be. So are you.