will I ever

I have to warn you: This is not a happy post. Nor a funny one. Nor a helpful one. Nor a pretty one. Proceed at your own discretion. You have been warned.

What I want to say today is the following: Will I ever grow up?

Maybe you are one of those people who believe that growing up is very much overrated and your first reaction right now is to say: ‘Girl, why would you want to? Be glad you’re not grown up!’

Or maybe you are one of those who never had to think about it because your growing up just happened and you’re thinking right now: ‘What are you talking about woman? You’re thirty years old, of course you’re grown up.’ (Okay, maybe you didn’t know my age, but let’s assume you did.)

I used to think that all grown-ups knew what they wanted and had sound reasons for the things that they did. I’m still not fully over the shock of discovering, somewhere in the middle of adolescence, that grown-ups had no clue themselves. They were only figuring things out as they went along themselves, and often they went along blindly. Sometimes I still wish that realization had never happened.

Let’s take a quick look at what being grown up means. Of course, what that really means is that I am looking at what it means to me. And there are two sides to it. There is the emotional, inner side. On that side it means taking responsibility for yourself. Knowing what you want and having a goal. Knowing how to go about achieving it. Knowing yourself. Being secure in your identity. Knowing what are your passions, what are your weaknesses and how to keep each in balance.

Then there is the factual, outer side. On that side it means having a place to live. Paying taxes. Dealing with bureaucracy. Saving money. Taking care of retirement. Having financial stability. Owning furniture, a car, a computer or TV. Having stability. Having a plan.

(I’m leaving out anything relationship-related, like a partner or kids or friends, because that relies on other people as well as yourself.)

I’m afraid of the outer part. I long for the inner part.

Unfortunately, I can’t really get around paying taxes and dealing with bureaucracy, but I can refuse to own furniture or a car or thinking of and planning for retirement – and I do – but I really can’t imagine being without a computer. Half-half, I guess.

As to the inner part… I used to have no idea who I was. I made it up as I went along. I’ve become much better at being honest with myself, listening to my own voice, getting to know myself. Especially the last two years have done wonders for me in that area. I still have problems with knowing what I want, and even more, with knowing how to go about achieving what I want. Or how to be able to stick with it.

Today, more than on any other day recently, I feel like my mind is just a big swarm of flies. Thoughts buzz around, settling again and again on the same spots, only to take flight as soon as I approach. It’s a buzzing, shifting mess and I cannot sort it out. I have new ideas, I have old ideas refusing to die down, and all the while my stomach is fluttering from nerves and the back of my neck is prickling. It feels like I have forgotten something very important. Like I’m about to miss the one and only chance I have. Like I have to step onto the stage and perform and I have no idea what.

I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m very busy all day, but when I look at what I’ve done, there is nothing I can show for it.

So my question is: Will I ever grow up?

Or, if you want me to re-phrase it: Will I ever know what I want? Will I ever have a clue? Will I ever wake up and just KNOW?


About wordsurfer

writer, ex-teacher, human rights believer & fighter, traveller, adventure-seeker, freedom lover, global citizen. big on daydreams, less so on reality.

Posted on July 30, 2012, in day-to-day and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. It’s a horrible place to be, I know. It seems to me that most people take a lifetime to grow up and I believe we need others to help us along the way because the better we know who we are the more sure we can be. It’s ok If you don’t know today, you my know tomorrow, you may also change your mind in few years and be right back here again.. Do what you know and what you truly love with the people that matter and the rest will come. Life is a living growing thing.You may never be happy just being one way forever, especially if you’re creative – that’s my 5 cents worth 🙂

    • Thank you for caring! Your words are really important, especially today when I just cannot feel it myself.
      You’re so right about the ‘not being one way forever’. I guess my problem is that I’m trying to be at least five people at once and it just doesn’t work. Probably priorities are important, so that you don’t get pulled apart… ‘Life is a living thing’ – I’ll remember that!

  2. I’m sad if this reply is going to upset you, but I think the answer to your question maybe no. If you mean will you ever know exactly what you want, where you’re going and how to get there, probably not. But isn’t this one reason why a lot of us write?
    The incessant jumble of thoughts in your head aches to be written.

    This is what is called creative angst.
    Out of this, the best novels, plays and poems have been written.
    Out of this, the best art adorns our galleries and museums.

    Put all your thoughts on paper, the screen, the back of an envelope if you will.
    And if you can, believe yourself to be lucky. Give a few minutes to think about how life used to be for your grandparents and great grandparents when there was no time to think. They were too busy working and getting by to have time to consider what they were doing and why they were doing it. It was enough that they could eat.

    Make lists so you get the biggest things done and give up trying to make sense of it all. Some things never do make sense.
    But they can make great works of art. Go with it. Don’t fight it.

    • Pat, thank you so much. I’m not upset at all, I’m touched.
      I would so like to have a real goal, a life goal. Something to work towards. Probably that’s a childish idea and maybe accepting that there is no such thing is growing up as well. I guess that is what you meant?
      I’m working on editing my novel and the voice of the teenage heroine has been giving me headaches, but really, it shouldn’t, because I’m more or less in the same inner situation, even though quite a bit older. ‘Write what you know’, indeed. 🙂
      Thank you so much, again, for caring and for writing such a wonderful and encouraging answer. It really is encouraging.

  3. I hate to break it to you, dearest, but the fact that you’re thinking of this, or conscious of it, means that you are growing up. We’re all constantly growing up. I don’t think we’re really ever fully grown.

    • If that means that I’m growing towards knowing what I want, I’m okay with it. 🙂
      I hope you’re right about never being fully grown up, although I know some people who seem to have done all their growing at twenty, skipping ahead to eighty and just staying stuck there. So sad.

  4. Wow. Out of everything I’ve read today, this has pretty much come the closest to how I actually feel at the mooment. I’m not as far down the path of growing up as you are (chronologically, at least), and it comforts me to know that I’m not the only one who is somewhat at a loss.

    I feel that I really don’t understand what I am doing with my life (studies, etc) and why I am doing it; at the same time, I don’t want to do nothing… I guess I still don’t know what I want. At times, I don’t think I ever will. I’ve had friends just *know* what career they want, and then they can dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to the pursuit of that, but I’ve never had that moment of clarity. I’ve spent quite a bit of time wondering when I’ll get that moment.

    And so far, since I haven’t, I’ve just decided to embrace all my opportunities. I take one day at a time, just putting one foot in front of the other. Take joy in the little things – the proverbial roses, if you will – and fill your life with things that make you happy. I think, one day, we’ll have built our life into what we want, and then we’ll realise that we are content.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling ^^; But, if it helps, just know that you aren’t alone in feeling this way – and we are here for you and hoping for only the best for you.

    • You are so kind, and it does help indeed! And you’re not rambling at all, I appreciate your input. Luckily these moments or days of feeling lost are only few and in between – at least I hope that it’s the same for you.
      I, too, have friends who just go ahead pursuing a goal and seem to be totally content and fulfilled. Then there are the chaotic ones, like me, and apparently like you, that jump from idea to idea, and from different versions of who they are or could be. It’s like we carry too many different worlds in us. I really like all of the above comments, and especially what Pat says about us being creative types, and that’s part of where our creativity comes from. Creative ideas in exchange for a bit of insecurity. Maybe it’s worth the trade-off? 🙂

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