Everywhere you look nowadays there are articles and memes and such about how people wish they weren't grownups, and how we want to go hide in blanket forts with coloring books and so on and so forth. And it's true. Any kids/teens out there... DON'T GROW UP!!! IT'S A TRAP! Seriously.
But I've realized that high school is for figuring out all the things you might want to do and giving you basic tools to do them, and college is for corralling kids until they're slightly older and more mature and giving them more things to do and learn to prepare them for maybe doing something useful. And your 20's are for potentially screwing up everything, or finding your heart's desire and being ridiculously successful and for breeding because you don't know any better (or waiting because you think you do, whichever), and no matter what, you still have your life ahead of you.
Seriously, the goal is to make it to 30 without doing any serious damage.
By your 30's, you have a slightly better idea of how the world works. At this point you're either working at something you figured out in your 20's, or finding something new because that other shit didn't pan out. You may still be muddling through, and if you haven't yet, this is when the whole "How to be a responsible person" starts setting in. You likely have kids now if that's what your life brought. You're learning and navigating school systems and politics and money and starting to really get the swing of it. Priorities and such.
Then you hit your 40's. And your body - it doesn't do things the same. It's not bad, but it's not the same. And your kids are getting older. And if you started in your 20's they're starting to do things on their own. Even if you started later, your world perspective is a little different for dealing with things. And you hopefully have a better grasp of the money thing. And then you look at yourself and realize that you really aren't sure exactly who *you* are anymore. Because the last several decades have revolved around others and their ideas of you and what you should be and could be and want to be and all that fun stuff. And now... you have more time to sit and think. And the urge to be you starts coming on strong. Whether it's you with a partner, or on your own, you want to find yourself. This brings on the whole "mid-life crisis" thinking. But it's not a crisis.
You have to adjust. That's all. For me, this means I'm taking more time to do what makes ME happy. It means I'm standing up for myself more. It means I'm leaning on my friends, learning to organize and prioritize. My parents have both retired now. And I look at them and know that I want to be able to do that in another 20-something years. So I'm going back to school to finish the degree I started. I'm cleaning up after the messes I made before.
I still catch myself in the "If I could do it differently" rut from time to time. But not as bad as I once did. Because everything I've done so far in life has brought me to the point I'm at now. And I think I'm a pretty awesome person. I KNOW I am. (Hell, I have to be - I just gave a total stranger a hand-knit colorwork hat - "We Call Them Pirates" pattern in green and black - because it fit him, his personality as I saw it, and most importantly, his head - he had a hat, but it didn't work with the rest of him. See a need, fill a need, right? Also - he's a stylist/artistic type person who lives downtown and fully appreciated the work that went into making the hat. It will be loved and appreciated.)
That's the kind of freedom I'm looking forward to. Being a grown up to the point where I can do things and be things and realize that I can live for ME again. Not ignoring my family, not abandoning them. But realizing that I can take care of all those things, and be my own person again.
It's not so bad, really.
This post brought to you by a cup of chai with a double shot of espresso, a great grilled cheese sandwich, and a comfy chair at Go Java Coffee on Ionia.