I’m reaching a point in my life where I actually have some history, some years behind me. I’m not old, but I’m no spring chicken anymore, either.
Many people look back at their childhood with great fondness. I’ve heard more than one person say, “My childhood was perfect.” They spend a lot of time reminiscing, even trying to relive those days.
For me, childhood and young adulthood were turbulent years marked with struggles, hard lessons and a longing for happiness. My parents split up when I was thirteen, and I was thrust into early adulthood – getting a job, keeping the house in order, looking after my brother and even having to put food on the table.
I don’t believe that adulthood comes at any certain age. Instead, I believe it comes when you realize that the world is not perfect, life is sometimes hard and just because you want something it doesn’t mean that you can have it. Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”
Children innocently think they can always have what they want. I think all kids should live in an environment where they are unconditionally loved and free to be themselves. Their minds, souls and spirits should be nurtured. But I believe we must be careful to not instill in them a sense of entitlement.
As our country experiences some of its hardest times, I believe we need adults more than ever. Our country needs strong and mature leaders to stand up and face the difficult work that lies ahead. Childish innocence will not work in this situation.
Our culture peddles the concept of perpetual youth and that it’s important to stay, “young at heart.” At age thirty-seven, I am proud to embrace my age and the wisdom that comes with it. I try to wear my skin with grace and hope to teach others to do the same. I say there is no shame, maybe even an art in maturity!
Life may not always be easy, but it can be great, especially when we accept that maturity empowers us with the ability to change things for the better.
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