Having recently become a parent, I have been thinking back to my life as a child. Aside from remembering iconic toys, tv shows, and things I used to do, I’ve been particularly aware of the impression I had of my parents.
I’m in roughly the same age bracket as my parents were when they started having kids, yet I don’t feel like I’m the same age. It’s not that I remember my parents being ‘old’, but rather I don’t see myself as much different than I was ten years ago. As a kid, my parents always seemed like grown ups, which I suppose they were. Being 31 I suppose I am, too.
So why do I not feel like I’m just not to that place yet?
Maybe it’s because the change happens so gradually, it’s hard to notice until it’s been done. There was never a sudden change over from being a ‘kid’ to an ‘adult’. Some might say I still am a kid – yet I have a wife, baby and mortgage – so I’m an adult…!?
I have much the same feeling about all this as I do visiting places I haven’t been to since I was little. For example, my elementary school. I remember the first time going back in to Arthur Elementary after many years to vote for the first time (first sign of becoming an adult). My memories of the hallways and cafeteria were much different than what I saw. It wasn’t that the paint had changed colors or doors replaced, but rather the scale. I remember the hallways seeming forever long with really high ceilings. Now the hallways seem short and narrow.
I know full well that the size of the building didn’t change. Obviously, I am what changed, but it feels the other way around. Since I hadn’t been in there for so long, there was a disconnect between my reality then and now. The feeling was very apparent and felt weird. It seemed like a sudden, huge change.
Even though I have been present (more or less) for every day of my life, this adulthood thing has kind of taken me by surprise. We all know it’s going to happen sooner or later (much later, for some people), but looking back – just like visiting my old school – things aren’t quite as grown up as they seemed.