When I was 11 (or I was 13 and the date was December 11 – either way, there was an 11 that was significant), I made the mistake of telling my father that I wanted to be a grown-up. He was always complaining about it and telling us how lucky we were that we were kids. He made me write it down on a small piece of paper and date it (I can see the piece of paper in my mind, “I want to be a grown-up” Susie Roulusonis). He said he was going to hang on to it and shove it in my face the very first time I complained about being a grown-up. I actually worried about that for a couple of years. Then as I got older (I won’t say that I grew up), I realized that I actually liked being an adult. Every time I complained about something, the first thing my father would say to me is, “It’s fun being a grown-up, isn’t it?” trying to make me eat my words, wanting to show me how silly I was for saying that. A few years ago I started telling him that he was going to eat that piece of paper, that I would never admit it because I didn’t (or wouldn’t) ever feel that way.
— He said one other thing to me when I was growing up that I will never forget: “You set to defy me at every turn!”
I’ll give him that. (Hear that, Dad? You were right!)
Because I’m going to do it again.
I’m 47 years old. I think I’m old enough to officially state this. I’ve had enough years in, I’ve been a parent for over 20 of them, I think I’m qualified now (still not grown up, but old enough).
I like being an adult. Even through all the stress, grief and loss, my daughter’s teenage years, marriage break-ups, bills, feelings of worthlessness, and not ever seeming to be where I expected to be by a certain age, I like being older. And I don’t wish to be a kid again.
I enjoy having my ownapartment (especially when I’m alone in it!). I enjoy driving my car. I go to parent-teacher meetings not because my kids have any problems in school, but because I think it’s fucking hilarious that I’m the parent! (My poor kids!)
When we were kids, we always thought that being an adult meant being able to do whatever you wanted to do when you wanted to do it. You know what? It really does. Yes, we have things that we have to do, responsibilities that have to be taken care of. But think about it, we really do have a choice. Yes, there will be consequences to certain choices, but the options are there. And looking at it that way makes me feel like I have more choices. If I have what I consider to be free time, I really can do whatever I choose. I like that.
I like looking back. I like looking over the things I’ve done. I like the fact that I can be selective about what I choose to look at, focusing only on the good times. There’s no need to go back. All time is now, right? So if I’m looking backwards, I am reliving it right now. I can be there and here at the same time.
I especially like getting together with old friends, reunions, catching up with people you haven’t seen in a while, people that you spent segments of your life with. Spending time with them and sharing laughter and memories. That ability to look back—and having enough amassed to look back at—is something we only have as adults. I am a kid again when I hang with my old friends. There are some bittersweet moments, of course, especially when someone’s absence is obvious. That is one thing about being an adult that isn’t so great. Watching time pass can be sad; but watching the people pass that we shared that time with…
But for that time that we are reliving memories with our friends and families and we talk about those who are absent, they are right there with us in that moment—then they become a part of the memory of that moment which allows us to keep them with us longer.
I treasure all of my friendships, from the people in my closest circles to those in each circle rippling out. All of you keep the best parts of my past, my history, in my present.
So I will jump at every opportunity of any type of reunion or get together and I will embrace—and wear a tiara on—every new birthday. (Sorry, Dad.)
To my friends, old and new, here or not, every single one of you that I have been fortunate enough to share moments with—any type of moment:
Thank you. You are a part of me.
Happy New Year.