Wednesday, October 30, 2002

What does it mean to grow up? How do you known when you’ve grown?

My mother had twin daughters at fifteen years old. She wasn’t a grown up, but she sure had to act like one. At fifteen, she had far more responsibility than I do now at twenty.

My sisters both had children before their seventeenth birthdays. I don’t think they were grown up really. But at some point they must have started to consider themselves adults.

I’m twenty. When will I become an adult? I don’t have children; I’m not responsible for any lives except my own. I live with my mother. I don’t have a job. I only go to school.

I’m three years older than my sisters were when they became adults. I’m five years older than when my mother did. Will I be a child until I have a child myself?

The other day I heard someone at school say: “If a woman’s 25 and not married, you know there’s something wrong with her.”

I plan to get my undergraduate degree when I’m 21. That gives me the four years I’ll likely spend in grad school to find a husband before I’m deemed defective.

Maybe I don’t want to get married. I want children someday, but I don’t really want a husband. Does that sound cold?

It seems like everyone I know is desperate to find someone to love them. I don’t feel like I need anyone to love me. I’m happy so long as I know that I approve of what I’m making of myself. Granted, it would be terrific if somebody did love me. But I don’t expect that anyone will. I know that I don’t love anybody in a passionate sort of way; why should I expect anyone to love me in a way that I’m incapable of reciprocating?

Why do I want children? I don’t really want them to love me unconditionally. I know that if I did want them to do that, I’d only be deluding myself. Children naturally have to hate their parents a little or they find themselves incapable of exercising independence. I don’t want to make little clones of myself. Heaven forbid, in fact, my children to act and think in the rotten patterns that I do. So why is it important to have children?

I’m twenty years old as I write this. I have very little direction in life. I don’t know what I believe, or how I feel about life, or really, what I want to do with my existence. I need to figure these things out. Soon I’ll have to make some serious decisions about what paths I choose to follow. I know that “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” but I don’t want the core of my being to be determined by a string of accidents. I don’t know if I can escape accidents determining my fate, but I want to exercise as much free will as possible anyway. It’s my life after all, and I’ve only got one of them to live (so far as I know). It's time to start asking the big questions.