When I was in my late twenties, we had a couple of friends who were in their 50s. One day I asked Betty at what point she felt "grown up." By then, I was working full-time as a writer. I never worked professionally as anything else -- I was always an editor, writer or both. I was raising a son, taking care of a home and had been married for more than ten years (married at 18).
When I was a child, I wondered when I would feel grown up. Through all my working years, I never entirely lost the feeling I was only pretending to be an adult. I did adult things, had adult responsibilities. I was a mother, in charge of making my son into a responsible citizen ... but I felt like a child wondering when the world would discover I was a fraud.
It turned out getting older and having a child made me responsible, but it didn't make me mature. I continued to wait for someone to see through me and realize I was really just a kid, playing adult games.
Now, we are a senior citizens living on social security, pensions and barely scraping by. How ironic we finally feel grown up. I don't know exactly when it happened. It just slipped by and I never noticed. It took getting old to get it done. Now, finally, we have no one to depend but each other. More of our lives are behind us than ahead of us, we no long feel like frauds pretending to know what we are doing. We actually know what we are doing. And we don't have to like it.
What comes with the package? We are impatient with the angst of the young. I listen and try not to show my restlessness, try not to say what I'm thinking, which is "Oh puleeze! Get over it. Move on!" I have zero interest in gossip, fashion, current trends in anything other than history or philosophy. I'm still interested in politics, but my perspective is very different. I'm far more cynical than I ever imagined possible.
I like my dogs better than most people. I don't miss parties and don't worry about being popular. The only people whose opinions matter to me are my few really good friends and some of my family.
I am not anyone I recognize anymore, but you couldn't pay me to be young again. I would love the body and physical health of youth, but not the brain. Yikes. Imagine suffering through high school again! Root canal sounds better!