When I was a child, I truly believed that all adults were mature people who knew what was what in the world. I may have liked and trusted some grownups more than others, but I still believed that being an adult meant no longer behaving like a child. I thought that the petty jealousies, the playground competitions and “me first attitudes” I often saw in my peers were things that we would all someday just naturally grow out of. And then I grew up, and realized that many adults, including me, never truly grow out of some of our childish ways.
I may be a “woman of a certain age,” but there are times when my inner child emerges, and I don’t mean that in a good way. (Because obviously, children have many, many, good qualities.) I’m talking about how quickly I can become upset about something trivial, or how easily I can feel slighted, or how quickly I feel cheated when things don’t work out the way I had hoped. As an adult, I know we’re not guaranteed anything in this world, but my inner child can still become enraged at the thought of not getting “my fair share.”
But those are reactions that I can clearly recognize as being inappropriate, and usually talk myself out of rather easily. My real struggles come more in the area of wanting someone, anyone, to reassure me when things are going so very wrong. Like a child, I sometimes want someone to tell me that “everything will be alright” during troubling times. The problem is, there are times when no one can honestly say that. Sometimes the only way to deal with trouble is to face it squarely and courageously.
I think that is one of the reasons I’ve been feeling a little down lately. We’re dealing with so many unknowns right now, and although lots of people have opinions on how things are going to turn out, no one really knows for sure. There isn’t anyone who can promise just when or how this will all get better. Heck, we can’t even agree on what “all better” even means these days. Like children, most of us are looking at things solely from our own point of view and waiting, some more patiently than others, for the rest of the world to adapt to our expectations.
There are times in life when we simply have no choice but to stand on our own two feet, listen to our own heart and make our own choices, knowing full well they might not be the right ones. And I have come to realize that this is one of those times. Now is not the time for me to indulge my inner child, looking for someone else to fix things or make sense of an upside down world. Now is the time to embrace adulthood, with all the freedom and responsibility that comes with it. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally become the grownup my inner child was expecting.