It has recently come to my attention that I am getting older. We all are, though some days it doesn’t feel like it. Some days I am still 18. Some days I can tell that I have not been 18 for a long time. I know most of us are like that, though, and I try to enjoy those young days as much as possible when they come around.
This post is not about those days, however. This post is about wondering. I am finally a senior in college. I have about three more semesters (including a summer term) and then I will graduate. I will be very relieved to be done with college, but then will have a bunch of student loans to pay back and no real skills with which to find a job.
I have been wondering lately what it really is that I want to do when I grow up. I was reluctant to go back to school because I will be so much older than most of my classmates when we graduate, and that makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable. But, I want to do this. I want to finish my BS, even if it is useless, no matter what age I will be at the time. Age doesn’t really matter so much in the pursuit of what we want to do. We are going to be 45 or 55 or 85 anyway, shouldn’t we be doing something that makes us happy?
As is usually the case with me, thinking about that question brought up a whole other set of questions and thoughts.
Why do we settle for doing things that don’t make us happy? Yes, I know there is the societal pressure that we all feel to “grow up and get a job,” but why are the jobs we so often get something that we have merely settled for? Are we hoping that this job will only be temporary, but it winds up sucking us in like quicksand and before we realize it, we are so deep in that we can’t get out?
There is also the pressure that is placed upon us by our families and friends. They expect us to get jobs as soon as we either turn 18 or graduate from college, and to become independent and autonomous–little islands of self-sufficiency bobbing around in an already overcrowded stream. Just because we have turned 18 does not mean we are “grown up”.
Lately I have been wondering: why do we stop growing up? Someone somewhere decided that once we hit the age of 18 we were adults and therefore done growing up. But that’s not true. Isn’t growing up about acquiring the wisdom we need to survive? About experiencing changes and learning about ourselves? Is that growth not something that continues to happen to us our entire lives? If we all stopped gaining knowledge and wisdom at the age of 18, there are so many things that would never have been accomplished. I think that “growing up” should be a life-long process. Something that we never quite finish doing, not something that ends once we reach a certain age.