Let me preface my post by saying that at this moment in time, I am 32 and I am a single mother, raising an 8-year-old son. I moved back in with my parents when my first marriage ended just before my son was born. I am now planning my wedding to my second husband, buying a house, attending seminary, and doing a myriad of other “grown-up” things. As I sit here, preparing to write this post, I am struck by how seemingly all of a sudden, I am finally feeling like a “grown-up,” and because of that, both terrified and excited.
When I took Developmental Psychology at Graceland back in the early 2000s, one of the topics that came up was the extension of adolescence in our society. I am a living example of that. Now, in my 30s, I feel like I am finally ready to take the steps into independent adulthood. I made my fair share of poor choices in my early 20s that I feel extended my “adolescence” as a consequence. That being said, during the time since, I have rebuilt my foundation, spiritually and otherwise, and am now making more confident steps forward, being a better example for my son, preparing to be a better wife for my soon-to-be husband.
As I take these steps forward, I find that I have to be diligent about not beating myself up over my past “mistakes.” When I do, I fall into this downward spiral of regret, and it can be paralyzing. Over time, I learn more and more how important it is to come out of myself, be present in the moment and use my time as the precious gift that it is. Taking better care of myself, attending to the obligations that I set up for myself and others, these things take time and energy, but I feel so much better overall for keeping up with them.
Even in taking these steps, it can be so easy to fall back into the adolescent “blame game” and making decisions based on what I want, rather than thinking of others. That has played into my recent housing decisions. My fiancé and I were planning on moving in together a few months before our planned wedding date. However, we quickly learned that that choice had consequences beyond our desire to spend more time together, and pool our resources sooner to help pay for the house, wedding and honeymoon. We struggled through this decision, recognizing the strain that we saw it putting on our families, both blood and church families. The decision that we eventually made was a compromise on our parts, and something that hopefully prevents pain and discord in our respective circles. Having made that choice, including others in the process, engaging in prayer and discernment, I feel as though it was the “grown-up” thing to do.
When did I become a grown-up? When I realized that it was not all about me. Sometimes I get that lesson more than others. Let’s just say it’s a day by day process.