In honor of my friend Elana who turns 27 today, in addition to Kurt and Zain who also had birthdays this month, I would like to bring up the topic of “growing-up” and “adulthood.” I put these terms in quotes not to be cheeky, but to illustrate the following point uttered by Dr. Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy:
I've heard that it's possible to grow up, I've just never met anyone who's actually done it. Without parents to defy, we break the rules we make for ourselves. We throw tantrums when things don't go our way. We whisper secrets with our best friend in the dark. We look for comfort where we can find it… there is no such thing as a grownup. We move on, we move out, we move away from our families and form our own. But the basic insecurities, the basic fears, and all those old wounds just grow up with us…. We get bigger. We get taller. We get older, but for the most part we're still a bunch of kids running around the playground desperately trying to fit in.
This paragraph brings about the following question. Do YOU feel grown up? I, for one, do not. I feel like an imposter walking and working among the real people: The parents, the professionals, clergy members, state officials, and so forth. Sure, I play the part well – and some may even believe that I AM an adult. I have two jobs that I maintain relatively well. Two other living mammals are solely depending on me for their well-being. I maintain some semblance of health and a clean living environment. Hell, I even did my own taxes this year! And I develop and maintain relationships with other individuals. But these things do not an adult make! Consider the following examples:
Would an adult:
-Jump on a bed in a hotel bathrobe and fall off busting her head open – requiring 8 staples in the scalp?
-Forget to pay her credit card bill, not because of lack of money, but because paying bills is a pain in the ass?
-Get housed on a Tuesday (or any other weekday) night – just because she can?
-Continually call someone a HORSEFACE even when they are not?
-Run in a shopping cart race across the Manhattan bridge?
-Still laugh at Sesame Street?
- Feel rebellious when using “bad” words like $hit or f#ck?
- Be compelled to hug and buy all the stuffed animals at FAO Schwartz because they’re SOOOO cute?
Well, I do all of these things, and plenty more that probably render me un-adult-like. And that’s fine. Because here’s the little secret that Dr. Grey expresses rather poetically above: Everyone else still feels like a kid at times. I often say, I learned everything I needed to know about human behavior by the time I reached the 7th grade. And it’s really true – none of our problems change. So, Elana, today I say, enjoy your day – may you celebrate it like you are 7, 27 or 72. Just note, that if you do find yourself compelled to jump on a hotel (or any other) bed today, it might not hurt to strap on a helmet.