Act My Age

The 20s are all about confusion. Every single day my newsfeed on Facebook is laden with articles, videos, and blog posts (I get the irony) from friends, internet personalities, and famous people alike. They all prescribe magical cures to all of life's troubles, particular those for young people. The age of the twenty-something is one of tawdry attempts at self-help admonitions, unwelcomed guest lectures from just about anyone you give your time to, and way too much reflexive over-analyzation. I don't believe any of it. There are no quick fixes, no miracle drugs, or sure fire things (save big G - Himself). There's not one way to be anything or anyone. All you are is yourself. Time to act my age.

One thing I absolutely abhor is people telling me what to do. I don't even think I have a problem with authority, complying with people's orders, or doing what I am told, but the mere fact that some has ordered, commanded, or proclaimed that I must do something rubs may the wrong way. Like casting Christian Bale as Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings wrong. I'm all good to do whatever I'm told but you can damn well be sure that I will question it thoroughly and form my own opinion about it before, during, and after doing so. In my mind there's always a nice way to ask someone to do something, and that word ask which gives them the choice whether or not to participate is so very important to me. Without it people lose their autonomy, their freedom, and spontaneity.
Recently I've been wondering what it means to grow up and I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing. Everyone does it in their own way and it means something completely different for every person. Generally people think it's when you strike out on your own and leave your parents house, and that may be true for some people, but I'm nowhere close to be emancipated from the aid of my forebearers. Excuse me for staying on that good ole health insurance until year 26 comes around (thank you President Obama). My childhood home is still that, my home - everywhere else I've lived has been and felt temporary. Paying for stuff on your own, but your parents still send you money for gas, pay your cell-phone bill, or let you splurge when you come home - come on now. So then what does it mean to be an adult? I think it has nothing to do with your finances at all, that's arbitrary. Some people are luckier than others to have people in their lives able and willing to help them along, and there's nothing wrong with that. What does it mean to act my age>
Adulthood, in my opinion, means three things as follows:
  •  Being able to take responsibility for your actions without making excuses.
  •  Being able to accept how you've impacted someone or something and even more importantly apologizing with sincerity in acknowledging that personally. That means, "I'm sorry that I (not you) hurt/did/impacted you ..." not "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I'm sorry you may have been offended." 
  • Putting other people over yourself and doing things because you want to, not have to. That looks like distinguishing between wants and needs, putting purchases and actions into perspective (how could I better spend my money or time - giving back), and giving to other people expecting nothing in return.
These three things may seem simple in theory but by my definition of adulthood even full grown so-called upstanding members of society would not qualify as adults. There are people who cannot or refuse to see how what they do and say affects other people. There are people who cannot give an authentic apology that gives them the necessary burden of blame and shame. There are people who do not understand the concept of gluttony or do not see the point in giving with no strings attached. You can be 80 and playing chess in a retirement home, 50 and running a Fortune 500 company, 21 and ready to graduate college, or 10 and just learning about the world. If, not even when because it's not a sure thing (as history has shown with wars, assassinations, scandals, etc.), you grasp and embrace those precepts (you need to put them into practice) wholeheartedly, that's when you're a grown up.

Those are the things that I've gleaned from my college experience. Unlike those one fell swoop fixer-upper mumbo-jumbo, I realize it's important to realize that those three precepts are things you practice daily. You don't become them, you exemplify them. You can at any point in time be portraying them well and in a few choice words be completely contradicting them. I think there is power in those ideals. It redefines adulthood as something to strive for but not something that is achieved and discarded. Just because you've aged does not mean you've lived or lived right.

For me all of this is empowering because I'm at an in between age, but between what not childhood and adulthood but rather life and death. That's a lot to handle. That means I'm always growing, changing, and becoming the person I want to be. That means there is always room for improvement and for maturity. I love fruit snacks, Disney Channel shows, and blowing bubbles. I also like interviewing people, Justin Timberlake, and How to Get Away with Murder. I don't partake in consuming alcohol, having sex, or gambling. I still like Jesse McCartney (he's 27 now and still demolishing the vocal game). I'm not a child, but I'm not an adult. I'll never stop being dependent on my parents, that's their entire purpose in my life - to support me. That to me sounds like a mistake. Yeah, our relationship will change, but our bond should grow stronger not weaker as the years go by. I'll act my age alright, a learner.

My blog post question for the day is ... how old do you think your soul is? I think mine is middle-aged and a little too wise for its own good.


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