Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Confessions of a Former Teenager

If you ever want to feel young at heart, I have decided that all you need to do is spend extended amounts of time with your immediate family. I recently returned from a wonderful ten-day visit to my parents’ home where I was joined by all five of my sisters and, for the first time in years, no husbands or kids! Now, I love my family and we love being around each other so much that we are usually planning our next visit before the current visit has even ended, but this time around, without husbands to distract us, I realized that I am not entirely sure that my family realizes who I am these days. An act as simple as putting my own dishes away after dinner elicited the strongest reactions.

“GASP! GAH! What?! Why is Jill loading the dishwasher?!”

Oh, right. Because I never did the dishes WHEN I WAS FOURTEEN.

Everything from going to bed before midnight to not buying an expensive pair of pants I really wanted caused my sisters to choke on whatever gum they were chewing at the time. As the week went on I really had to wonder- just how bad of a teenager had I been?

Pretty bad.

Granted, I was never arrested and any actual illegal acts were kept for special occasions, but that’s about all that can be said for my friends and I.

Not too long ago I was asked to help out with my church’s youth group. For the past month these delightful young things have almost daily made me want to hop on a plane to Texas, hunt out the poor, abused adults who at one time attempted to do for me what I am striving to do for these girls today, and apologize. Unfortunately, that would take far too much time and involve hunting down far too many teachers, mentors and leaders of my past who I am sure are still questioning whether I ever made it to adulthood. I suppose all I can do, then, is marvel at the Universe’s ability to dish out my comeuppance all these years later…

Deep down inside, I’m sure that my family realizes that I am no longer that teenager and am instead a 28-year-old who will soon be a mother of my own child, but I suppose I can’t begrudge them their decade-long adjustment period to the New Jill. Heck, even I fought for a ridiculous amount of time before I finally admitted to myself that I just don’t get Justin Bieber. (Now is the moment I thank my lucky stars that have yet to jump on the Twitter train so I can’t be blasted by his five billion and three Twitter followers. Phew!) If that isn’t a sign of adulthood, I’m not sure what is.

I recently encountered one of those picture quotes that are so ubiquitous on Facebook these days. “I’m 30 but I still feel like I’m 20.” it said. “Until I hang out with 20 year olds…then I’m like, nope never mind. I’m 30.”

It’s like they could read my mind or something. My name (Jill) may mean “forever child” according to almost every baby name book out there, but for the first time in quite a while I am ready to abandon the quest for the fountain of youth and declare that this particular definition of who I am is an honorary title rather than a literal description of my life.

So, all of you out there wondering if the youngsters in your life are ever going to make it through…just hang in there. We all usually come around in the end. If you need an extra boost along the way, however, just let me know- I’ll send you my Mom’s number and y’all can commiserate. 

No comments: