One day I turned 18. Not much changed. Small things. Silly things. I knew I was still a kid in this world. Except legally… Legally, I was an adult. I continued gaining independence but I was obviously still my parents’ child. Still a kid.
Shortly after, I turned 20. Ah, the twenties! So many people had shared with me their great memories of the twenties. These are the years, they said, in a nostalgic way. And they were right, it was fun. I had the freedom of an adult, yet did not have to behave like one. And I wasn’t the only one. They called us young adults. As if we hadn’t yet graduated to the full sense of the word. But we were almost there… it seemed.
Close to my thirties I saw friends start being adults. Behaving differently. Taking more on their shoulders. That life was not for me. Not yet. They had children of their own. And even though we all knew that really, they were just kids having kids. They were finally adults, and they knew it. Forever caring for the younger versions of themselves. They no longer had the choice of being just a kid, just their parents’ kid. So I came up with a theory: Perhaps one needs to make little ones in order to fully grow up. Because who am I if I am not a parent? Well, I am someone’s child.
And I accepted that as the truth. Feeling like a child in an adults world. Still daddy’s girl. Unafraid, unashamed to walk straight to the fridge when going to my parents’ house. Assuming they always had my back, that they still saw me as their child, that their house was my safe haven, that I could always come back if I messed up. Shamelessly. The way I did, for a year or so, in my mid-twenties.
So that was to be my world, my identity. For as long as I was not a mother, I would remain a kid pretending to be a young adult. Or so I thought. Because now, who am I if I no longer have a father? I was someone’s child. Still am, but it’s different now. Now is time to grow up. With or without children of my own. Now I must accept being an adult. Because there is no more daddy’s girl. The safety net has a hole in it, and it requires my attention.
This is how, in my early thirties, I finally became an adult. Over 10 years after society had started treating me like one. Yet, maybe years before I’d feel ready for it. And it’s a strange feeling.