Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Waiting to Become a Grownup

I made a comment in RS a couple of months back that I meant to blog, but never got around to it; but then today my friend, Ms. Winterberry, got me thinking about it with one of her most recent blog postings (, so instead of hearing about my accidentally-four-alarm cinnamon chili, you get to hear about this.

When I was nine, my family moved from Blackfoot, Idaho, to Provo, Utah, where my mom had been hired to teach part-time at BYU. One of many joys of being a faculty dependent was that we could go swimming in the BYU pool (to this day I adore swimming), and one of the most anticipated events in my life became the advent of my twelfth birthday, when I would not only enter Young Women's, but I would get my own Faculty Dependent Card with a photo ID, which would allow me to go swimming at said pool without a grownup to take me.

The funny thing is, once I got the card, I didn't really go that much. I wasn't used to going. My older sister kept going with her friend who was used to going, but I never even went once, all summer long (the following year, we moved to Alabama, so my plans for swimming more were nixed).

Does this sound like a familiar story? Waiting for permission from a not only invisible but even nonexistent party, to do something that we have permission to do and want to do, but we never get around to doing?

That same older sister has a favorite story about this principle from one of our old Young Women's leaders. This woman, Sister G, kept her wedding china in very good condition. In fact, she almost never used it. She would probably have kept on never using it if not for a comment that her mother-in-law made to her one day: "Oh, so you're saving them for Roger's second wife?"

Becoming a grownup became something like that for me. I kept waiting for the birthday to happen, the degree to be achieved, the permission to be granted-- I still don't know from whom, God maybe-- for me to do the fun things that I always saw that it was possible for grownups to do.

My definition of grownuphood has changed a little over time, but in some ways it hasn't: to me, there is still magic in the fact that, as a person over the age of 18 who is not incarcerated, I get to choose what I do with a significant (enough) amount of my time. The same goes for money.

That said, I find that I am not actually happy about this freedom unless I have goals that I am working towards with both my time and my money. When 1) I have to spend all of my time or money on a given obligation that I don't particularly like, I am unhappy, or when 2) I carelessly squander my extra, and THEN have to pay the bills with what is left over, then I am very unhappy.

I recently reorganized my time so that I get to spend an hour a day on stuff that I have decided to spend it on, stuff that I think will get me closer to my goals. This is, indeed, making me happy, but I am also becoming progressively more sleep deprived, so we'll see how long it lasts...

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