As a kid, I had high hopes and expectations for adulthood. I was the one kid going on and on about wanting to grow up and how it would be so freeing and liberating. In some ways, it has been, but in other ways, it has been a tumultuous roller-coaster filled with so many highs and lows I can’t keep up anymore.
For some reason, the older I get, the more terrified I am to grow up. Not necessarily physically age, but of just taking on more responsibility and having to make harder decisions. But why is that? Why am I scared of responsibility and life-altering decisions?
As I was pacing around my room last night it dawned on me that I was scared of growing up because I had convinced myself that every decision, I would make at 22 years old would be permanent. Somehow, I had told myself that any decision I would make right now is what my life would be, and there would be no wiggle room to change in my future.
Which after some reflection, I find a bit ridiculous? Why do we think that most of our decisions are so permanent when everything around us, including ourselves, is constantly changing? Society has conditioned us to think that the box or category we fall into at the age of 20-something is the same one we will be in when we are in our 30s or 50s. But that could not be further from the truth. First off, you are never constrained to a box or category. Second, you are allowed to change and grow, and the decisions you make now can also change and grow with you.
This idea that I would be constrained by the decisions I made as a 20-something year old for the rest of my life is terrifying. But that idea is simply not true.
The decisions you make at this point in your life are not always permanent. Yes, some things are permanent such as having children or taking care of an elderly family member. But there are so many other factors of your life that can change and grow with you as you change if you let them. If I have learned one thing, it is that nothing is permanent. Nothing is guaranteed, and everything is subject to change. Understanding this has eased my anxiety that was so intertwined with growing up and all that it entails.
Take comfort in the fact that growing up does not necessarily mean making one big decision after another and never having the ability to change it. You will always be making life-altering decisions, but that does not mean you can’t change your mind.
There will always be that opportunity to change direction, to try something new, to grow.