Life is like having a puzzle box that you turn this way and that trying to figure it out. Sometimes you make the right twist, or have an epiphany where you suddenly understand but sometimes you continue to try to find answers to life’s questions. This one is not going to bring about world peace or cure cancer but I have a question to ask you and I wonder if you have ever asked yourself the same one at any time in your adult life.
I was speaking to a young man this is thirty-four years old, has two college degrees and a successful business. He is married and they are contemplating a future family, he asked this question of me this morning, that’s when I remembered having the same conversation, being asked the same question by someone on the occasion of his birthday the year he was turning fifty.
When I was a little girl watching my mother prepare dinner for company one evening I remember wondering how it was the she was that she could cook three different vegetables, fry chicken and make a Baked Alaska Pie and get everything done at the same time, how did she figure that out? That particular evening stands out in my mind like a little rhinestone that has fallen out of a piece of costume jewelry catches the light causing you to see it lying forgotten on the floor. It has no use now to the trinket that has probably been discarded but you pick it up and look at it, that is the way that moment stood out in my mind this morning as I thought about this question.
I watched my parents interact and sometimes didn’t get what they were laughing about as they canoodled, and sometimes now a snippet of a conversation will come back to me with understanding, and I smile. I wondered how two people could decide that they love each other and I wondered if I was going to love someone who wouldn’t love me back.
I wondered how a person decided what they wanted to do to make money, and knew that anything I did would have to exclude any use of mathematics.
I remember turning thirteen and waiting for my life to drastically change because I was now a “teen-ager”, I would tie a scarf around my neck, turned the collar up on my blouses and scuffed my black and white saddle Oxfords but mother would come behind me and turn the collar back down, make me polish my “sads” and tell me she wasn’t going to let me watch American Bandstand anymore if I continued to try to look like Arlene (and Kenny) or Justine (and Bob), that was the worst punishment I could think of! I would iron stacks of pillowcases, sheets and daddy’s handkerchiefs so I could stand in front of the TV and watch.
I am sure you have vivid memories you could share with me of the time before you were “fully growed” and were thinking about what it would be like to be an adult, to be able to wear your hair in a duck tail or dance all evening to Dick Clark and the Bandstand crew if you wanted to do it. Can you remember having an exact idea of how it would feel to be an adult?
We all have the stress of grown-up life, maybe the responsibility of raising children caring for a spouse and going to work every day, still there is the thought, the question that maybe you have the answer for,
“How old do you have to be before you feel like an adult?”