My 16 year old daughter recently started working. As we were walking through the mall last week she said, “Sometimes I come home from school, try to take a quick nap, and instead think about how I wish I didn’t have to go to work.” My reply, “Welcome to the adult world.” She got a horrified look on her face and said, “This isn’t what being an adult is, is it? If so, why do people want to grow up?” I of course laughed and let her know this is part of being an adult. Our conversation then continued to a conversation we often have about growing up and the perfect age. My daughter likes to ask the question, “Wouldn’t you like to be 16 again?” My answer is always the same, “NO WAY!”. She then quizzes me on whether or not being in my 20’s again would be ideal. “NO,” I always answer. She seems to be searching for that perfect age so that when it comes, she doesn’t miss it.
The problem with trying to figure out the perfect age, at least for me, is that every age has been perfect. I have been happy with each age because they have each brought something important to me. My teens were about friendships and since I started working at 14, figuring out my work ethic. My 20’s were about exploring my profession as a teacher, developing a solid marriage, and figuring out what values I held as an adult. My 30’s were all about being a momma and starting to figure out what life with rheumatoid arthritis meant for me. My 40’s have been about rediscovering myself, my marriage, and my role as a momma. It has also been a time to begin thinking about what else I want to do with my life. I can’t imagine not having any one of these stages. Each one of them has been perfect and led me to where I am today.
What we did discuss about becoming an adult is that you have important decisions to make. How do you want to spend your free time? What is your passion? How can you integrate your passion with your career? We talked about the struggles of being an adult, but how each struggle also comes with a reward. Sure, you have to work, but you also have control over how you spend your time and money. You get to decide if where you are in life is good or bad. Once you have that figured out, each age is beautiful and necessary.
What do you think? Has there been a perfect age for you that you’d like to return to?
2 thoughts on “What’s the Perfect Age?”
I really liked being in my early 40s, but I like where I am now even more. All my life, I wanted to live, not merely exist, and I've been doing that every day for the last 10 years and each day is getting better. (And I'm with you. I would not be 16 again for love or money)
That makes 3 of us who don't wish to be 16, but if I could return, I'd like to take the wisdom I have gained with me. Oh, how much better those high school years would have been!
Another thing in common – I started working outside the home at age 14, too.
What a great momma you are, Cathy. You're having such meaningful conversations with your daughter so she can be her best at every age.