The Defining Moments in Becoming a Grown-up
They’re defining for a reason…because they either make you or they break you
I turned thirty this year and I’m shocked to say that it wasn’t nearly as scary or horrible as I had anticipated it would be in the years leading up to it. In hindsight, I’m actually quite impressed with how natural it felt — like I’ve been preparing for it all along. Like I was ready.
I soon realized that the simplicity of adding an extra digit to my age wasn’t really the thing that scared me after all. Instead, it was all of the things that came with it that made me truly nervous.
It was the realization that as I get older, the people around me — in particular, my parents — are also getting older too. And the helplessness that you feel in knowing that you can’t stop time for those people, let alone yourself, is what makes growing up a little terrifying.
Those defining moments when you know that you’ve become a grown-up are the ones that pack the biggest punch. They’re the moments that stay with you forever. And those moments, as difficult and terrifying as they may be, eventually come in everyone’s life at one point or another.
I personally have had to deal with some of these moments in life so far. Here are just some of them.
Putting your family before your friends
For many of us, our friends were our entire worlds when we were young. We often took our family for granted and it wasn’t until later in life that we realized the value and importance of family. I, myself, remember how much I prioritized friendships when I was younger — I remember often begging to skip family functions and choosing my friends over family many times. However, as I’ve gotten older, I realized how big of a role my family played in my life and how important it is to put family first.
The roles were soon reversed and I now find myself often choosing family over friends because I know now that the time we have with family is limited. We have to make every moment count whenever we can and you shouldn’t ever feel guilty for putting your family first.
Choosing meaningful friendships over fair-weather friends
Though family is of the utmost important, friendships are still very important in life as well. Our friendships help us get through some of our toughest times and they’re often the thing that lifts our spirits and get us out of a rut when we feel like we’re stuck. But, as many of us may know, not all friendships were built to last forever.
Some friendships will only last for a brief moment in time which is why we have to do our best to hold onto the meaningful ones. Those are the ones that truly count.
Dealing with death within your immediate circle
Though some of us may not want to admit it, death is a part of life that we all have to deal with eventually. The realization of getting older ultimately sheds light on the fact that our family is getting older as well. And in the realization of acknowledging old age, the reality of death presents itself as well.
I’ve had to deal with a number of deaths in my family throughout my life. I lost both of my grandparents early on and I’ve lost extended family members along the way as well. However, the realization that it can and eventually will happen within my own immediate family has been the most profoundly terrifying realization in adulthood.
It’s actually come up quite recently and I keep telling myself that I’m not ready for it, but the truth is, no one ever is. When it comes time to face it, we just have to do our best to cope and carry on the best that we can.
Becoming a parent to your parents
For those of us who had our parents when we were growing up, they were the ones who raised us, protected us, took care of us, and made sure nothing happened to us. They kept us safe, they comforted us, and helped us heal when we were sick. They were our shields and our protectors. But, then at some point, the roles are reversed.
We become independent and we learn how to take care of ourselves. We eventually learn how to take care of our loved ones in addition to ourselves — this includes are parents as well. When this moment happens in life, just remember all of the lessons that you learned from your parents and make sure you give your best effort to pay it forward.
We will all become familiar with similar moments like these in our lives and for some of us, we’ve already experienced these moments much earlier on in life than we had hoped. These moments are the ones that define us and they’re defining for a reason…because they either make you or they break you.
As the classic saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” So, allow the defining moments to give you wisdom. Allow them to make you strong so that you’ll be able to pass this wisdom on to those who need it later down the road.
That’s the beauty of getting older; the beauty of growing up — we can share what we learn with others.