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21 December 2009


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Christy P.

Being in charge of forming memories and family traditions feels like a much bigger responsibility than merely keeping a child alive or shaping his little mind with education.


A profound point!

I think family traditions are pretty malleable at this stage, or maybe I'm just fooling myself. I did discover a couple of weeks ago that in just 2 weeks of lighting the advent wreath, the ritual had hardened into That With Which We Must Not Tamper, when we attempted to do one thing a little bit different (sing a different song on the request of one child) and ended up with two separate meltdowns.


My SIL and I have had a couple funny dicussions on this one. We're both 28 and don't feel like grown-ups yet, despite being mothers (and in her case, a professional as well). We often swap stories of events that gave us a little peek at what being an adult must be like, like when ordering a dining set or buying a garden hose or hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Those seem like fairly adult things to do, but--nope, still don't feel like an adult.

My husband and I discuss this too--completing an international adoption entirely on our own? Nope. Giving birth to my third child? Not yet. Maybe our fourth baby due in April will finally put us over the edge. Like you, I went from school to more school to more school to having a baby, so I've never had a "real job" either. But my husband has a real job, of course, and we both find it hard to believe he'll be leaving his twenties this February. Maybe that will be the nudge we're looking for? We aren't childish and we're not scared of aging, so I'm not sure what it is holding us back from feeling like we belong.

My mom always said that measuring for drapes was the sign of adulthood. Maybe that'll be the charm? :)


I don't believe I've ever commented on your blog before, but I greatly enjoy it. I'm a chemist and find your experimental cooking reports to be fascinating. Funny enough, I'm 34, single, and childless with a fulfilling and challenging "real job" and I still don't feel like an adult. I've always figured it was because I'm not married with children.

Cathie B

Hey, I'm another "not quite feeling like an adult" here. But for me, life is good when you are 42 and you feel like you are a 17 year old...


I have not commented before either, but I read and enjoy your blog regularly. This post and the comments are fascinating to me. I am 49 but do not yet feel like an adult. I have always wondered if other people felt this way. I am married, with four children, two of whom are on their own, I have a "real job" and have been acting like a responsible adult for decades. I suspect that having both of my parents alive and in good health plays a large role in my viewing of myself as still a kid. I have a certain sense of their over-arching protection around me.


This same thought has been on my mind too. I feel like I couldn't wait to be nineteen, and then once I was, I don't think I ever progressed. What's funny is that all that time I thought grown-ups had it all figured out, they were probably just as confused I was. Helps me get over my imposter syndrome though. It's simply not true that everyone else is more mature and smarter than I am.

And this wrinkle thing...I too lost a bunch of weight and suddenly look old, especially in my cheeks and around my mouth. This is not what I expected to happen. I thought I looked older being heavy. Seems I can't stop the clock whether I'm fat or thin. I am definitely older than I feel.


Me, too. My husband is 35 and we've been married for 7 years, and sometimes I still look at him and think "wow, he's so old!" (I'm 31). Occasionally the thought flies into my head - in 5 years he'll be FORTY. Ok, need to stop thinking about that.

I don't have kids but am fairly close to several of our friends' children... As far as I can tell having children doesn't make you grow up, it just makes you tired. :-)

I work outside the home and that's where the masquerade really starts, because I'm an RN and have to be an authority figure for everything from self-righteous teens to criminals to people several times my age. (And occasionally inexperienced doctors!) If you can construct an argument based on a professional foundation you can get by with a lot... And that means that "because I'm the mom and I say so" must be a valid argument. Right?


I wonder if this is something that most of us modern "young adults" feel? I'm 37 and have 6 kids, husband is a professional. I don't feel like a grownup yet. I have a hard time thinking that Laura Ingalls Wilder or people from her generation felt this way.
Is it because our culture worships youth and we want to hold on?


I feel this way too--but less than I used to in my 20s (I'm 32). The times I feel "grown up" are when I discover that the skills I have spent time developing...actually work! This includes talking to a younger sister who is a math major about a homework problem and realizing in a minute how it should be approached (I did a math PhD but never taught beyond Freshman Calc and really couldn't see myself ever able to carry a course like Real Analysis, but maybe I underestimate myself...). In homemaking, it's when I pull off keeping the house together and shopping for my week's menu without forgetting a major ingredient, or when another (older!) mother borrows an idea I found to work. And in parenting, it's when I actually feel I "disciplined" a child (in that she learned something that helps her toward the goal) instead of just treating symptoms....

I think I experienced a sort of "coming of age" when I was pregnant with my first baby and could attend a La Leche League meeting in my own right, because I grew up with fond memories of LLL from my mother's attendance. And again when I was homeschooling and could connect with the mothers in my mother's homeschooling group, many of whom have oldest children my youngest brother's age and are midway between my mother's age and mine. Both times, it was as if I was accepted into a society whose members I admired and aspired to be like.

I appreciate that most of the authority figures around me are still older than I am--I can't really warp my head around having doctors, dentists, lawyers, priests...that are younger than my youngest siblings.


I suspect that no one ever feels old, and that's why older people are always complaining about their health. To us, it makes perfect sense that their eyes and joints and whatnot are giving out. That's part of being old. But to them, they still aren't old yet, and they can't quite understand why it is happening to them.

My husband had surgery for a hernia this year, and he felt pretty much the same way.

I still remember when he finished his residency after his doctorate and got his first "real" job at age 30. He went through the salary and benefit negotiations, then signed the contract. I said "Can you believe they're really going to pay you all that (relatively to a grad school stipend)? Don't you feel like you just pulled off some big trick on them?" He said he sure did!

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