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Poll: What does it finally feel like to become a "Grown-up?"
June 11, 2007
9:10 pm
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truthBtold
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Just wondering.

Sure would like to finally feel that way someday.

Comments?

June 11, 2007
11:45 pm
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fantas
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Truth...I always wonder about that. I guess when I feel comfortable in my own skin and don't care so much about what others think of me. When I am able to stand by the choices I have made and take ownership, I will be an adult.

June 14, 2007
8:16 am
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lonely and addicted
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I am 37 years old and have three kids and 90% of the time I wonder when am I going to grow up.

The times that I let go of the control is when I few grown up, the days that I pay attention to relity is when I feel grown up.
Like Fantas, when I am comfortable in my own skin, I feel grown up.
Adulthood is not about age, it is about us.

June 14, 2007
4:22 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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I always figured I'd feel grown up when i had a house i was buying and kids. I am nearly 45 years old and have neither so I am still waiting to grow up I guess.

Funny though I thought it would happen BEFORE I needed reading glasses or anti-wrinkle cream

June 14, 2007
4:24 pm
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bevdee
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Tiger Trainer!

I don't have kids or a house either! I guess I thought this too.

"Funny though I thought it would happen BEFORE I needed reading glasses or anti-wrinkle cream " hahahahaha

June 15, 2007
7:16 am
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bonni
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For me, it started when I first began to care less and less about what other people thought of me. Then watching my older daughter beging to become a young lady. Beginning to have the realization that I don't need anyone's approval to be happy or ok and that no one has the right to demand perfection of me, even me.

I don't know that i'll ever completely feel grown, but I am enjoying feeling less like a child, in the sense of not being so much at the mercy of the whims of others.

bonni

June 15, 2007
7:39 am
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sad sack
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For me, the event that made me feel like a bonafide "grown-up". was when I received my first pay check as a teacher and realized that I had my own health insurance. My mom and dad no longer had to carry me on their policy. That was my first feeling of being a grown-up and I remember it vividly. (28 years ago)

Sad

June 15, 2007
7:53 am
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thewall
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For me growing up is FREEDOM...freedom to come and go as you please. Freedom to make your own decions. Not living with a parent making all the rules. Makes me wonder why anyone would want to live in a marriage that would do that as well. Thats not grown up, thats being controlled by someone again.... being married isnt supposed to replace a parent. They are supposed to be your partner in your new freedom!! And thankfully, mine is awesome.

For me, being grown up is NOT about having kids. Kids take away your freedom. Your emotional freedom, your financial freedom, freedom to come and go as you please... kids are not for me.

Being grown up is making your own money and being the boss over how you spend it. Its about Saving it for an emergency so that you are not controlled by your money but instead are IN Control over your money. Its about living just a little below your means so that you can accomplish this.

Being grown up is not being punished for things you did, and things you didnt do. Its about not being afraid that when you make a tiny little mistake or come home 5 minutes late, you dont have to be afraid of getting beaten. Its about eating the food you want, when you want and having enough to eat.

Being grown up means going away for a weekend or a week, and choosing where you want to go. Its about being your own boss over your life.

Yipee, I'm a grown up and I love it!!!!

Free at last, free at last, thank god almighty Im free at last!!

June 15, 2007
7:54 am
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Tiger Trainer
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Hey sad sack. I didn't know you were a teacher too. Don't you love summertime?

June 15, 2007
10:10 am
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Matteo
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That's funny, I feel like a grown-up all my life, at least since I was 10.

I think what thewall calls "freedom", has not much value without what I call emotional maturity. I was always free not to obey whoever wanted to control me, and I often did, but It took a while to mature enough not to care when they were "upset" with my choices.

By the same token, children don't take anything from you if you are mature enough not let them. If you are mature, you have freedom to chose to have them or not, and if you chose to have them, as a grown-up responsible adult you continue making the choice about children. They take your emotional freedom only if you are codependent with them; trust me, people are capable of loving different people in many different ways, and of course if you cannot differentiate between the love for your child, parent, pet or spouse, you have a problem. That's why I always argue that children don't "come first". I don't prioritize people I love and I love different people in different ways, and those kinds of love cannot be compared. Even the thought about that kind of comparison feels creepy to me.

Same with the relationship; you chose everyday if you want to be there or not, you have freedom to do it, always (I am not talking here about exceptional cases like severe abuse called intimate terror, as an example - that's obvious).
But if you are a grown-up, you know that you are responsible for yourself and your choices and you don't look up to anyone for a nod of approval or a frown. It is your life and you don't allow anyone derail you from your tracks. This is what being a grown-up means to me.

Nobody is really stuck in a relationship; they are there because they want to be there. Some are there because they exercise their freedom to keep trying, some are there because they are not mature enough to see that they have freedom to leave, no matter what others say. It may look the same from the outside, but there is a big difference between those two.

June 15, 2007
11:13 am
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gracenotes
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My take on being grown up is reaching a level of having a sense of self-responsibility for one's life. Does not mean disowning the past, in fact it means being truthful about what actually happened back then but having the courage to move on to a better version of one's self.

I think its more an attitude towards life vs. outer things. Its about not blaming others for one's cirucmstances and doing something to change things that are not right.

Right now, in my 50's, I am doing things that some people might consider irresponsible -- I quit my day job, I am going back to school full time this fall at a university to get a degree in a creative field, I am moving to a smaller living space, I am relocating -- all kinds of things people might more likely do in their 20's vs. their 50's, but, I am doing this with a sense of self-responsibility. This is my life, and it is my responsibiity how I do at school, how my new career in a creative, very competitive field, blossoms or not, what kind of part-time work I do, who I choose for new friends in my new location, what I do to keep myself healthy (eating right, exercising, spirituality), how I give my very old mother the care and assistance she needs, and, if I screw up (which I have no plans of doing) there is no one else to blame. I think that's being grown up. Every minute seems like a choice of how I spend my time and my goal it to make the right choices.

Growing up is a process also, and there are events along the way that mark our progress.

June 15, 2007
11:56 am
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risingfromtheashes
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sigh, this is a hard one for me.

I am not sure how to explain it.

I look at other people my age - or slightly older - the ones that have the beautiful homes, the lovely children who play sports, the pedigree pets, the expensive SUV's. The ones that have sons that play football, daughters who cheerlead, going to piano lessons, etc...the ones that have ladies night out for drinks...and guys go golfing. Family picnics with neighbors, friends and family...traditions...big christmas parties...they vote, they join PTO, they are scout leaders, soccer coaches...you get the picture. The well rounded, all american family.

THAT is an adult.

Mind you, I grew up in affluent area of connecticut...home of private schools and big homes, fancy cars...all of which, I do not.

I mentally KNOW this is not a mark of an "adult"...just I think I would feel like an adult if I lived this lifestyle...but have such a more relaxed life, that I dont' feel that way.

Something matteo said triggered me to think about the possible reason why.

My mom tried to kill herself when I was 11. I subsequently took on alot of household stuff that was not mine to do, but needed to be done.

I was a mini-adult at that age, a mini-mom to the family I babysat for all weekend, every weekend.

So, perhaps I can't differentiate between being a child and being an adult because I was never a child to begin with. So, I didn't FEEL the transition into adulthood...I didn't get a sense of "wow, I have adult responsibilities now".

I have a daughter, I pay my bills, I am a responsible worker, I make my own decisions, I "own" my own stuff, I don't answer to anyone...just like an real adult.

so maybe I don't feel like an adult because I can't see the difference? I was always a child with these responsibilities (yes, I paid my own expenses since I started babysitting)....so perhaps the line is so fuzzy, that I don't ever feel I became an adult.

does that make sense?

in all the ways you others describe, I AM. But the feeling isn't there.

I am moving into "our" home this month...we are having a baby together....perhaps I will start feeling more "normal".

I know that last year, I considered starting family traditions...I KNOW this year I will follow thru.

I want our baby to know the family unit that I once knew...my daughter didn't have much of it, because it was only the two of us...we had some traditions...like spending holidays wiht my folks...but it never went further....maybe in her last four years at home, I can give that too her too.

anyway, off on a tangent, sorry.

for me....I don't know when/if I will feel like an adult...my childhood was taken away from me.

sorry for the rambling.

June 15, 2007
12:23 pm
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Isis
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Rising...

"I look at other people my age - or slightly older - the ones that have the beautiful homes, the lovely children who play sports, the pedigree pets, the expensive SUV's. The ones that have sons that play football, daughters who cheerlead, going to piano lessons, etc...the ones that have ladies night out for drinks...and guys go golfing. Family picnics with neighbors, friends and family...traditions...big christmas parties...they vote, they join PTO, they are scout leaders, soccer coaches...you get the picture. The well rounded, all american family."

This is my life now. This is how it looked while I was growing up. It wasn't until seven years ago that I began the journey from my "lost childhood" to what I now know as 'adulthood".

"So, perhaps I can't differentiate between being a child and being an adult because I was never a child to begin with. So, I didn't FEEL the transition into adulthood...I didn't get a sense of "wow, I have adult responsibilities now".

I hear you loud and clear on this.
However, Sometimes I still feel like a child trapped in an adults body. Like no matter how hard I try, I'm still a kid- raising kids. A kid trying to work through adult situations. The white collar school of hard knocks- it isn't all it's cracked up to be.

If I was never a child- then what was I? A parentified child? An immature adult?

I do the best I can, with what I've got. Life is a journey, a learning experience. I'm still blossoming into the adult that I so long to be.

Matteo, I think you're amazing! You've had it all figured out since the age of ten. Your insight moves me.
When I was ten, there was no way I could have come to that realization, let alone have the strength of mind to move on it.

June 15, 2007
4:16 pm
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thewall
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Matteo,

Good point and very true. Emotional maturity is a must. I was thinking of my own grown up life and how free I felt and became w/o my abusive mother controlling every move i made.

I have been emotionally mature since I was 10, primary care taker of a newborn since then, arranged my fathers funeral at age 12, and took care of my little sister as she grew up, going to her school functions, taking her on dates with me in high school while mother was away playing with her boy toy, having her live with us during the summer after I got married. And on and on.
So yes, one has to be mature enough to handle the freedom before it can be enjoyable and productive.

June 15, 2007
5:49 pm
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sad sack
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Tiger Trainer,

I believe you are the person who wrote and said you were finished with school way back in May. I was SO jealous. We go all the way until the end of June here (in NYC) and start back at the very end of August.

Well anyway, yes, I do love the summer. It is great having the entire summer off. ALthough, this summer I applied for a job but it doesn't look like that is going to pan out. OH well, I'll survive.

Please enjoy your summer. We deserve the time off.

Sad

June 17, 2007
2:24 am
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kalz
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I have so many thoughts on what it feels like to be a grown up. Most of them though center around unselfish acts. It just feels like to me when you're capable of doing unselfish things for yourself or others it's a sign of being a grown up. I don't think there is a definition of feeling like a grown up though. Maybe I think that because I still feel like grown ups have all the answers and I don't think I'll ever be that wise!

June 17, 2007
2:37 am
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truthBtold
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To finally say to myself -(in the most private and quitest of moments)...to my parents.....that I don't owe them anything.

That seem to finally sever that tie -in a way that I would not have expected. So quiet. So honest. But what I am finding, with such incredible repercussions, to my own advantage...........damn, I should have done this a long time ago......

I don't owe them anything....and now suddenly - all those years of guilt and unnecessary loyalty are suddenly lifted away.............No. I don't owe them anything. simply that and nothing more.

Ahhhhh - so nice to not feel gulty anymore............. sigh 🙂

June 17, 2007
12:07 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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Sad.
Yes we finish school before memorial day. but remember when I start school on Aug. 5 you will still be on vacation.

June 17, 2007
2:00 pm
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StronginHim77
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I did not truly feel like an "adult" until the generation ahead of me began dying and my children looked to me to be the "rock," the "leader" and the decision-maker in the face of grief, loss and fear.

Paying taxes, qualifying for a mortgage, becoming a parent, surviving the death of close peers...all of these "landmarks" were part of my journey to emotional adulthood. But having others look to me for strength, wisdom and comfort was the clincher.

- Ma Strong

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