Monday, July 10, 2006

All grown up (not!)

I’ve often struggled with the grown up concept and to this day, in my (early) 30s, I often wonder whether I’ve crossed the line into grown up territory yet. It’s not that I’m trying to leave my sense of youth, adventure, awe, and frivolity behind, it’s just something that I’ve wondered about through the years.

When I was a teenager, my friends believed that maturity would come with travel. By then, Australia was the third country I’d lived in and I’d heard countless tales about my parents’ travels before that. At 15 I flew solo to San Francisco to visit family, the first of many trips abroad. I was lucky to have had such a well travelled life, so travel was not to be my grown up moment.

Next on the grown up list was the house; perhaps if I got a mortgage and the responsibility of looking after a house I’d feel grown up. The first house came and went and soon others followed, relatively easily and without much trouble. I was lucky to have a stable job and no raging credit/spending habits, so home ownership was not to be my grown up moment.

Soon my sights were set on a pet: surely having another creature’s life in my hands would do it. However, I’d had dogs at home and my dogs have always been an utter delight. I am lucky to have a dog that is well mannered and travels well, and I am even luckier to have a wonderful friend that looks after Peanut when he can’t travel with me, so my pet was not to be my grown up moment.
I’ve lived well: loved and lost, owned and sold, toured museums and rode rollercoasters, swam in strange seas and hiked foreign canyons, cried tears of joy and sadness.

There may not ever be a defining moment and I fear I’ve been associating growing up with losing some of my youthful spark and I don’t want to do that. I watch my mum with her friends, kicking up their heels and having a ball and I see that spark – hopefully it’s hereditary.

Perhaps growing up is as simple as having a truckload of good memories, great hope for the future, being thankful for what you have and making the most of it. Sounds clichéd but I like it.

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