Whoa! When did I become a Grown-up?!?!

So, I am sitting here, having just finished doing some work for my second job, after having put in a full days work for my full-time job before 7 o’clock this morning.  It is 4:30 in the afternoon, and I have put in a full days work for one source of income, and a good 5 hours for another.  I have been awake since 11 o’clock last night, with the exception of a 2 hour nap some time this morning.

It occurred to me today that what little free time I have gets spent worrying about paying the bills and making our tight budget work.  That is time that I should be spending with my husband and kids, playing and enjoying these years, because they go by so quickly.

And I realize that life is too short, and that time moves much more quickly than I would like it to.  Children grow up too fast, and we can never get yesterday back.

So, I pose a question for all of you, my faithful friends out there.  When the heck did I become the grown-up?  I seem to have missed the transition, because the way things are now is the way I remember things “always” being.  I don’t remember a transition from the happy, carefree era of childhood into the worries and strains of adulthood.

I remember reading in my room for hours as a kid, and how much enjoyment that gave me.  I remember going to school, coming home, and doing homework. Then, I remember having children and jobs and budgets and bills, and all of the stress and strain that goes with that.  I missed the transition.

I am 29 years old.  I have already had and recovered from an ulcer.  I have tension headaches frequently.  I lose sleep over worrying about getting this bill or that bill paid.  These are all very “grown-up” things.

A lot of my friends around my age are still enjoying the carefree “young adult” life.  It seems that, to them, being in your 20s is about partying and having no worries and doing what you want, with nothing to hold you back.  Their whole life is in front of them, just waiting to be discovered.  When mine is in full swing, and I am living it.

Have I arrived?  No, not in the slightest.  I am still a very, very long way away from where I want my life to be.  I have a dream, a legacy that I would like to leave behind for my children, and I am not even close to achieving that just yet.  But the plan is in place, and I know what I need to do.  What is that, you might ask?  I have to work.  I have to put away childish things and childish pursuits and be a grown up.  I have to budget every dime and save every penny that I can.

People ask me all the time, if I am working and making decent money, why do I live where I do.  The answer to that is simple.  I could most likely, almost definitely in fact, afford a better place to live with a lot more of the amenities that it seems people require.  But, to do so would jeopardize the future I am trying to build.  Yes, I could afford to live somewhere nicer, in a better neighborhood where I wouldn’t have to worry about all of the drama that happens around me every day where I live now, but at what cost?  The little bit I am trying to save up would be gone in a heartbeat.  I would be further away from my goals, my dreams, than if I spent a little less money and a little more sweat on where I am now.

No, my home is not ideal for a lot of people, and it needs some work and there are things that need to be fixed, but it is less expensive to fix those things than find another home, because the payoff is bigger in the end.

And I sit back, and I realize, “Wow!” Because this is nowhere near how I expected to be living out the end of my 20s.  I had visions of the carefree life I see all of these other people having.

But you know what?  My life is so much more fulfilling than what they have.  I have compassion for others, and a pride in that what I do have is mine, and no one can take it away.   Officially, as of next week, I own the home I am living in.  It is not the Taj Mahal, but it keeps us warm in winter and cool in the summer, and dry when it rains.  I have food to eat and our NEEDS are provided for.  Sure, like everyone else, we have things we WANT, that we would like to have, but those things are not necessity, and they will come in time if we work hard for them.

So to sum up all of the random wandering above, I have grown up.  I am no longer a child.  I have real world concerns, and real world dreams.  While my age peers are worrying about where to go for that drink on Friday night, I think about getting my baby girl tucked into her crib, and quality time with the rest of my family, in the few minutes of down time I get, because I spend Friday night working, making sure I can provide for my family.

People ask me if that makes me feel old.  The answer, in short, is no.  It makes me feel whole.  It makes me feel like what I do matters, and that I matter, because I make a contribution.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t mind being able to just go and “hang out” once in a while, but right now, I have much, much more important things to accomplish, and my priorities are in order, and I know what needs to come first.  Work now, and I can play later.

I do love my life, and every minute that I get to spend it with the ones I love.  Sometimes, I wish I could have more time to enjoy it all, but I know that in the end it is going to all be worth it, and I will have accomplished something that we can all be proud of.


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