A few summers ago I took a class in youth and young adult ministry, and the teacher facilitated a long conversation about what constituted adulthood. Together my classmates and I discussed certain markers of adulthood such financial self-sufficiency, the loss of a parent, or having others rely on you. I believe at the time I settled on a particular event that I believed was the marker of adulthood. I don’t remember what I decided, but I remember it wasn’t something that had occurred yet in my life.
In the car on the way to the grocery store today after work I was thinking about today’s phone call from the doctor, the latest in a line of frequent phone calls informing me that my labs came back and my iron is still dangerously low. I smirked as I drove, thinking about how I often supplement iron with Guinness. I’ve made that joke for years.
Out of nowhere I gasped my way into a sob. Whose life was this? Who is this person who is on potentially dangerous medicines that require blood tests every few weeks, whose recent memories are stuffed with pain and distress?
What grew me up was learning that there is nothing that “only happens to other people”. There is no guarantee that life will turn out the way I plan, even if I do everything right. Sometimes when I cry it’s not because I am particularly pained but because I mourn that simple girl who didn’t know what I know now.
What grew you up?