come up for air, come up

jellyfish 2

i was with family last night. a family member who i hadn’t seen in 3 years brought a friend. he is an ‘adult’ adult. by that i mean that no one will question it if he is an adult or not. it has nothing to do with age. but as a reference, maybe 35+ = adult adult. that’s beside the point.

what i am getting at is:
i did something weird when i met this adult adult. i did the diabetes thing. i gave him the spiel after he asked me one question about it. i went on and on about the difference between type 1 and 2 and all the good educational stuff about being sensitive and non-ignorant. and here is the thing, i did it in a teachers voice. i controlled the situation and semi-intentionally held the conversation captive so that i could SHOW him that i was an adult, not a kid. i showed him that i knew a LOT about something. he seemed impressed and i was happy. i felt powerful.

but, in the car ride home, that mostly one-sided conversation really started to bother me. why did i do that? was i being a power-seeking bitch? did it come off that way? am i actually power-hungry?

this is my conclusion:

im 22. … it’s a weird age.

it is an age where you can decide which side of the fence to be on. adult or kid. do i want to be grown up and do grown up things, or do i want to keep being young and do young things? and what’s more, beyond whatever your preference is, kid, adult, or somewhere in between, being 22 means you are getting sized up by adult adults. most adult adults are aware of the fact that people around 22-25 are going through this weird responsibility-growing transition. many adult adults seem open to letting a 22 year old prove them-seleves one way or the other. what i mean to say is that i am 22 and when i go into a room of adult adults, i get to show them whether i am mostly a kid or mostly a adult.

i am 22 and i have trouble with this. i dont feel like a kid, and i dont feel like an adult either. i still call my mom every other day to chat and catch up. i still ask my parents to handle my taxes for me. but i have a job. i pay my own rent and bills. i volunteer. i make my own schedule and take care of my own health. i have a dog that i take care of and a social life that i manage to keep. i am grasping hard to SOME aspects of both. how do i find a balance or decide either way?

this is what is happening on a deeper level:
i am feeling a power struggle. i feel a need to prove that i am not a kid, but an adult…. and more, i want to prove not only that i am an adult, but that i am a confident, going-places, powerful, strong, intelligent, at your-level, adult adult. BUT, at the same time, i also want to achieve things before i become a real adult. i want to have set up insulliance programs all over the country by the time i am ready to set into a career and be a real actual adult adult.

I need someone with wisdom here… what do i do? wait it out? keep trying to prove myself all the while clinging to the idea that im doing more than i should be at my age? im massively confused, afraid of not living to my ‘potential’ and still frightened that if i keep working and volunteering this much in pursuit of being seen as an adult adult, i’ll miss all my “best years.”


One thought on “come up for air, come up

  1. There are no adults, only older kids. Everyone goes through life trying to make the best and most sense of what they were given in ways they know how. There are people that know what has happened, there are people that sort of know what is happening, and hardly anyone knows what will happen but pretend they do so they feel secure about the unknown (like having plans after college graduation… who REALLY knows what they’re doing? No one, but they have to at least SOUND like they do). The “adults” I know I used to think were smart and mature and responsible and somehow inherited everything they need to know about the world simply by being older, but all that really separates us is the amount of time they’ve had to accumulate experience – they’ve simply had longer time to figure things out. Don’t worry about being on the fence. I find the only insecurity I harbor is not knowing how to negotiate undertaking the new unspoken societal expectations impressed upon me by others that have lived longer than myself. The best you can do, the only thing that anyone can really ask of you is to do what everyone else has been doing all along… go through life trying to make the best and most sense in what is happening to you, and if you don’t know what’s happening or is going to happen, it’s ok. No one else does, either. We’re bonded together on the precipice of unknowing facing uncertainty, but we’ll always have each other – older and younger – to help us along and figure things out.

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