The Marks on the Wall

Growing up is a funny thing, isn’t it? When we were kids it felt like we would always be caught up in that feeling of just being a kid. Each birthday brought nothing more than just a cake and more opportunities for your Aunt May to squeeze your cheeks. Any real signs of growing up were mere tick marks on the laundry room wall. Of course those meant nothing once you realized you still weren’t as tall as your brothers.

Then suddenly everything changes.

You start to care what you look like and who Jimmy Heartthrob is taking to the prom. Before you know it you’re going to college, you’re starting a career, you’re getting married… the list goes on and on. It’s real life.

The worst part? Your height has pretty much leveled off at this point.

Of the things on the list, I’ve checked off a decent amount of them. And although I never had a date to prom, I did graduate college and jump start my career. I guess it was an even trade. Most of the people around me are doing the same… and then some.

Not to sound cliche, but everyone around me is getting married or having babies. And it hits close to home. My brother and his wife are having their first little one and soon I will be ushered into the world of being an aunt. Then there’s my roommate, who is tying the knot with a wonderful man. And if you take a look at our refrigerator, you would see countless invitations and save-the-dates. So much so that, unless told, you wouldn’t even realize there was a refrigerator there.

I’ve had five weddings to go to within three months and this has taken a huge toll on my wallet (heaven forbid I be caught wearing the same outfit twice at these events). However, I’ve been forced to pause and think about my life as I stand looking at that refrigerator, downing another mouthful of corn flakes.

Where did the time go?

It’s funny how we spend so much of our childhood trying to grow up. There are so many mile-marker birthdays when you’re young. Think about it. At five you get to go to school, at 10 you’ve triumphed into double digits, and at 13 you are finally a teenager. Then there is a cascade of milestones like driving, legal adult status, legal drinking age and, to really stretch it out, the quarter-of-a-century mark.

Thank heavens I haven’t reached that mark yet. I would feel absolutely ancient! And right now, I’m still relaxing in the feeling of being young.

Or do I feel old?

I mean, how are you supposed to feel when you’re in your early twenties? You want to remain young, but everyone else is telling you that you’re old. On the other hand, you dread growing old, which then makes you feel like your youth has been ripped away from you.

What has struck me the most, is that I have found myself making a decision between career and family. The funny thing is, I don’t really understand why. However, growing up I always told myself that I would pursue my career to the fullest before even thinking of settling down.

I was such a silly girl.

Not too long ago, I found the love of my life. He has shown me that we can both have our dream careers and still have each other. Are we married? No. But we’re enjoying each others’ company to the fullest and pursuing our careers to the fullest. Now, those are dreams worth sharing.

How could I ever believe I couldn’t have both?

So here I stand, munching my corn flakes and looking at that refrigerator full of save-the-dates and baby announcements. It’s amazing to me that I can see beauty in both the young and old.

Why we waste most of our lives wishing we were another age, is beyond me. One thing is for sure though, life is beautiful!

But I still hate that my brothers will always be taller than me.

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