Thursday, December 15, 2011

Does getting married mean growing up?

The thing I find the most challenging about being married is this idea that being married means I'm automatically a grown-up.  Have you seen Parks & Recreation?  April and Andy, the only married couple on the show, are about as far from being grown-ups as anyone I've ever seen.  But I love the episode where they go to Bed Bath & Beyond and Andy finally admits to April that he really wants his own fork. 

April doesn't mind sharing a fork because she doesn't want to grow up because grown-ups are boring.  I won't spoil the episode if anybody hasn't seen it (and if you haven't, why haven't you seen it? Go watch it. Then we'll talk.) but I will say, these are two people that resist the idea that being married means you need to be a grown-up.

Now, I badly want to be a grown-up and I don't mind being boring.  But I do mind this idea that somehow, I'm supposed to have grown up overnight just because I'm married now.  I still leave my socks everywhere and my poor tired husband still follows me around trying to get me to put my cereal bowl in the sink (or the dishwasher) after breakfast.  I forget what day trash day is and when I don't put a new bag in the recycling bin, I still throw whatever I'm holding into it, figuring I'll put in a new bag later.

One of my friends defined being a grown-up as, "realizing your actions have consequences, and learning from that."  For example, when I started working, I realized I could not just throw my suits on the bedroom floor because I did not have time to iron them daily.  So I started hanging my suits up.  I was continuously late to work because I couldn't find my keys. I'm now much better about hanging my keys on the key hook we keep next to the door.  I hope that in a few years, I will be the kind of person that puts all my clothes away or in the hamper, that makes sure both socks make it into and out of the laundry, and never has to soak another cereal bowl. 

What does being a grown-up mean to you?


  1. I do not think you suddenly become a grown up! It is a gradual process. It is part of the overall process of changing over time. We all change based on the experiences we have. Life for me is all about growing and learning as a person. I am not sure what defines a grown-up, but I think a large component is taking responsibility for your actions. That does not translate into being boring. :-)

  2. I think that you grow up the moment that you hit a place where there is something you cannot possibly do. It is completely impossible. It's unimaginable that you are capable of doing it, but there is literally no one else to do it, and it's do or die.
    When you are stuck in a pit of depression, and can't get anything done, and then your partner becomes gravely depressed also, and it gets to the point where if you don't haul yourself up out of the pit and start carrying him, even though yesterday, you couldn't even carry yourself on your own two feet and 4 wheels to the grocery store, because you know that if you don't, you both will lose your jobs and be unable to pay rent and be homeless. Or when you hit that point where it hurts far far far too much to keep pushing your baby out, and really it can't possibly fit through your vagina, and you try to stop, and then you realize that the only options are to let the baby stay inside you forever which is a) probably impossible b)will continue this pain forever and c)will probably kill you, or to keep going through even more pain, and get through it.
    You hit this point where it doesn't matter how impossible the task, if you are to live, you must overcome the impossible. There is no other choice. So you do.

    That is when you become a grownup.

  3. I loved this post! I definitely do not like to think I'm a grown up, but I think the "realizing your consequences have actions" is a great way of putting it. While I have the same exact problem with being a slob (I leave my clothes everywhere too and can't wash a dish immediately after using to save my life), the things that have truly serious implications (dealing with financial issues and taking care of my health b/c my 'ignore it until it goes away' solution ain't working) are what are prompting me to be grown up. My grandmother says you don't really get your shit together until you have kids though and you really don't have a choice than to grow up. So I'm gonna put that off for a bit I think... :)