I Look Like An Adult, I Sound Like An Adult... But I Don't Feel Like One - The M Word

I Look Like An Adult, I Sound Like An Adult… But I Don’t Feel Like One

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When I was in my teens I always felt my oldest sister, who is eight years my senior, was very grown up. I admired and looked up to her. She knew everything. Now, I’ve reached and well passed the numerical age she was when I believed she had become an adult. And yet…

I look like an adult (well, most of the time), I sound like an adult (perhaps not every day) but do I feel like an adult…not one bit.

I’m tentatively ticking the survey box for over 30s wondering how in God’s name I can be classed as an adult? I believed adults had their shit together. Adults knew what life was all about. Adults didn’t query, over-analyse or worry about life…they knew it all.

I’m now in the process of pushing out the age of adulthood. Maybe when I’m 40 I’ll feel like an adult? I do envy those young, energetic teens and twenty somethings starting out in college or their careers, all filled with hope and enthusiasm. But does being an adult equate to feelings of nostalgia? Perhaps regret even? The adage of you can’t put an old head on young shoulders makes more sense to me now. I’ve no idea why I was in a rush to grow up, wasn’t it fantastic when your only responsibility was your library book?!

Now I’m at the point I longed for as a teenager and yet I feel like I’m floundering. Are adults not sure of themselves, certain in their decisions and have their lives together?? I’m hardly passing the test if those are the criteria.

My favourite age, so far, was 17. It was my Leaving Cert. year in secondary school, I was on the brink of adulthood (don’t worry I get the irony!!!), and I was optimistic about all that life had to offer. Can’t I just go back to that? Forever young…

If a difficulty or crisis arises, especially at home I always expect my mother to have impart some pearls of wisdom. My father deals in black and white options, you can do this or you can do that, you can choose X or Y. Mam caters for the various shades in between the monochrome. Each outlook is useful, and God knows I’ve looked for advice often enough.

Sure, don’t my parents know everything? Didn’t they always know it all?

Me as an adult in my 30s…what do I respond with? Dread! And a quick glance for the nearest adult. And yet, I am the adult, I qualify and have a child looking to me for the answers.

I’m wondering does this self-doubt dissipate? Will I feel more like an adult on my next birthday? Do you feel more like an adult when you’re a parent…or less like a child when you’ve your own one to look after…I only wish I had a Magic 8 ball to guide me in the right direction!!!

Róisín Burke
Róisín Burke
Married Mama of a terrifically imaginative and energetic toddler. A secondary school teacher with a love of family. I’m permanently peckish and love live music and the escapism of a great book. A believer in empathy, understanding and lifelong learning. Never underestimate the power of determination, mixed with a little stubbornness of course!