So many times as children, we imagine what it will be like to be an adult. A world without anyone to boss us around. Nobody declaring a bedtime or what to eat or when to wear a jacket.
I remember as a child wishing for the day when I would be an adult with no one to answer to but myself.
I’m not sure when that day came. When did I truly become an adult? Was it when I got my driver’s license? When I graduated from high school? Did college make me an adult?
The problem with being an adult is that it’s never what you imagined when you were a child.
Sure, you can go to bed whenever you want, but it isn’t easy to get up in the morning. And yes, you can eat whatever you want, but without that childhood metabolism, your body will reveal your habits.
Of course, you don’t have to make your bed if you don’t want to and you don’t even have to comb your hair or eat your breakfast.
But you know that a good breakfast will give you the fuel you need to get through the day and that running around with nasty hair won’t earn you any respect. Unless, of course, you’re some kind of rock star earning a living by looking and living like a slob. There just aren’t that many of us who end up in that position.
Maybe you’re an adult when you swallow gross-tasting medicine without anybody telling you to and because you know it’s good for you.
For many of us the reality of adulthood comes with having children to care for and raise. I know by the time I had kids there was no denying a growing sense of responsibility, not only for my life, but for theirs.
Taking care of another life changes everything. Suddenly I found myself spitting out the same sentences, that as a child, I hated to hear. “Put on a jacket.” “Eat your breakfast.” “Comb your hair.”
Once, on a day when my children were young and loud and exceptionally annoying, I remember calling my parents and apologizing for anything I ever did to make their life difficult. That’s the kind of thing an adult would do.
I can no longer question being an adult, especially now that I am headed down the road to grandparenthood. But my already grandparent friends tell me that being a grandparent is a lot like being a kid again. You don’t have to adhere by adult rules. You get to make new ones.
I don’t have to be the adult with grandchildren. Apparently I can feed them pizza and ice cream for breakfast, let them stay up all hours and go all day without combing their hair. Nobody holds you accountable when you’re a grandparent.
Apparently, in a way, it’s a lot like being a kid again.