Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No One Has Anything on You.

Today is my birthday.  I'm 32 years old.

It doesn't change because you're a grown up.  (Photo: ViNull/Flickr)

It occurs to me that somewhere along my teen years I made the arbitrary decision that when I turned thirty-two I would be officially "old".  I keep thinking as I approach thirty-three that this was the year in which Jesus died on the cross, and he was God, so you must be good and ready for some big stuff in your early thirties.

It's funny.

I always thought that when I "became an adult" I would suddenly change.

Forget the boys I liked in high school and not have any desire to have a birthday party or go to a sleepover or win at tag or receive an invitation or enjoy Oreo cookies.  That somehow I would start liking lots of jewelry and applying make-up and wearing pantyhose on a daily basis.  That talking on the phone would become effortless.  That I would receive some widsom about spreading jelly on toast and opening jars and knowing how to manage my finances and regularly and effortlessly spend my time investing in the stock market.

And yet... here I am...  good and old, according to my teenaged self... and still... well... me.

I still like Oreos even though I know they are bad for me.  I still hate pantyhose and think they are unnecessarily air-tight and easily torn.  I still remember my ex-boyfriends and even think fondly of them at times.  And...  spreading jelly is sort of a mystery, though I've become pretty adept at opening jars.

I still have a lot of the same questions I had as a kid.  I still remember well what it was like to live inside my younger mind.  I still know that teenaged girl.  I know her well.  I can still call up her old feelings and thoughts.  I still enjoy the things she liked.  I love swimming and dancing and lime snowcones and playing cards.

And knowing these things about me, and my mind, and how I am still that girl, only in an older body with more book knowledge has made me think a lot about how I look at other people.

The person who is writing a book on parenting is my age, or maybe only a few years older than me.  And wow, she only has one child and I have two.  And she's selling this book about parenting.

And there are people out there making inventions and developing apps and appearing on television as newscasters and actors and comedians who went to school with me.  People I graduated high school with are jet setting to Japan for Fortune 500 companies.

And that means something.

It means that all people are just. people.

There is no magic formula to make one person more successful or bigger or greater or more famous or wiser.  There is no class you take when you "turn into an adult" that explains how to actually start your own business or gain power and knowledge.  We are all a product of our choices.  Of the people we chose to know.  The things we chose to study, the books we choose to read, the way we network or put ourselves out there...  but we are all still just kids who like ice cream and sparklers and comfortable hoodies inside.  We all still have fears of failure and loss and darkness and yes...even the boogieman in the closet.

There is no switch that makes us morph into adulthood and lose the self we once were.

There are people who hide it better - they put on adult clothing and they shop at adult stores and they use adult jargon, but the fact is, we are all still just. people.  Babies, children, tweens, teens, adults...  all. just. people.  All with potential to be or not to be infinite things.  To learn whatever it is that we need to do whatever it is we'd like to do.

And the best part?  It doesn't change just because you're a grown-up.

The thing about going to college and then having this career that you keep forever and then your mind shuts down and you have no actual feelings or preferences and you live to rule over your children?  That a degree will suddenly change you into what you thought that person looked like or accomplished?  These are lies that some people buy - and the secret to living the fullest of lives - is to choose not to believe them. No one has anything on you.  There is no secret.  There is only the wide world of knowledge and potential and connection and work.  And the path you choose to take with it.

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