Being the Grown-up

Even though I’ve been living on my own and managing my life all by myself for a good six or seven years now (or longer, since I finished college away from home and therefore had to find ways of getting by that didn’t completely depend on my parents), I think there’s always been a part of me that’s still felt like a child.

I was always hesitant to grow up. I’m not sure why, because a lot of what I wanted in my youth had to do with the freedom that adults tend to have — to go where I wanted, do my own thing, have a place that was just mine and other things of that nature. But when you’re young and dreaming of freedom, you don’t think about the rest of it. The details like having to make your own doctor’s appointments or how to budget or which insurance agent to start a relationship with. There are all these little details of life as an adult that I don’t like having to deal with. But I have to. Because if I didn’t, sure I’d still get by, but it would be irresponsible and probably lead to trouble down the road.

With a child on the way, my perspective of adulthood is shifting. And I think it has to do with the fact that those tiny details of life as an adult are about to multiply. Because I’m no longer just responsible for myself. I take care of a lot of household details, which includes some of James’ affairs, but he is also an adult and could easily handle things if I didn’t. But this new person is going to depend on us to make appointments, enroll him/her in school, provide for every basic need and a few bonuses along the way until s/he can learn to do all of it in adulthood just like we did. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, because we are in a fairly secure place in our lives and are seasoned veterans of bill paying and tax returns, but if we screw up now, we adults are really the only ones who feel any effect. If we screw up a month from now, a year or ten from now, our mistakes will impact someone who can’t fix them, who may not adapt to difficulties the same way that a couple of 30-year-olds can.

Now, I’m not saying that we make a lot of mistakes. We occasionally procrastinate — we put off those doctor’s appointments as long as we can or “forget” to call about a bill or subscription issue. But I’m hoping to be a good example, which means that I need to step up. That James and I both need to get off our butts and take care of the business that needs taking care of. We need to have a plan and keep it going, even when plans change. The fears I have about money and job stability and everything are not just going to go away without doing something to address them, even something as simple as changing a cable package, cell phone plan, newspaper subscription, or making more of an effort to offer my freelance services to more than just the one company or do more with the art. I don’t know. I just know that it feels like there’s a lot more responsibility hovering just over the horizon, and I feel a little lost every time I try to confront it.

As much as I know that it’s all a learning process, that everything will be okay, even if we make a few mistakes along the way, that also seems to be the kind of thinking that gets us on the procrastination train every time. Maybe taking a more proactive approach will help with the gnawing in the pit of my stomach that there’s something I’ve forgotten, left out. And maybe with my eyes open a little wider, whatever it is I missed will turn out to be something small and almost insignificant instead of something that could turn huge and stupid. I seem to need to keep it all at the front of my mind. Keep going with the lists, even if things don’t get crossed out as quickly as I might hope. Just knowing what to do and when it absolutely can’t wait anymore has been good. A little difficult, since I’ve never been the most organized of individuals, but helpful in its way.

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