Grow Up!

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Thought Catalog Flickr

I attempted to build a fort on the old oak in my backyard with my sister. We had one hammer and a box of nails we stole from the garage. We fastened wooden pieces into the tree’s trunk for steps; that was as far as we got.

And then, I grew up.

I dreamed, you know, like we all do when we’re young, that I would grow up to be something great, an inspirational part of the world. Significant. Someone who was something.

And then, I grew up.

My dog died.

Cancer stole my aunt.

My brother broke my CD player.

I learned forgiveness.

I recognized my sin and accepted Jesus as my Savior.

I asked a guy to prom and he said no.

I was the brunt of a bad rumor.

I cried myself to sleep.

I made the winning shot of a basketball game.

I earned a diploma.

I toilet-papered our teacher’s house with my senior class.

My best friend betrayed me.

My Sallie Mae bill arrived.

I grew up.

I trusted a boy and he let me down.

I bought a tail-wagging, big-brown-eyed puppy.

I wrote a novel.

I danced down the Las Vegas strip with my cousin.

I took a road trip to Texas and ended up lost in Oklahoma.

I learned to laugh, a lot.

I realized how overprotective my parents were.

I rode horseback in the Great Smoky Mountains.

I had a reunion with my college girls on a beach in Maine.

I visited Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

I ordered a pizza in Chicago.

I walked the Boston Trail with my family in the blistering July heat.

I flew to Nashville and watched some of the greats perform at the CMAs.

I shook the hand of the President of the United States of America.

I stuffed a closet full of bridesmaid’s dresses.

I cried at my sibling’s graduations because they grew up.

We all grew up.

I moved to New York City.

I drank one too many glasses of wine at happy hour.

I learned to two-step from some awesome rednecks in the south.

I shared a limo with my favorite people singing along as we blasted music all night.

My roommate taught me how to make the best grilled-cheese sandwich.

I realized no place on earth ever gives you the same warmth as your parent’s house.

I joined in sync with all of Yankee stadium to Sinatra’s “New York” after a W against the Sox.

I blared the music in a minivan and had a dance party with my aunts in a parking lot.

I rounded up my quarters to afford a lunch.

I popped champagne off the roof of my apartment.

I bid good riddance to people who brought me down.

I learned that I love guacamole, and new people, and the bright lights that surround the streets I frequent. I became acquainted with subways and buses and the little old man who sells fruit on the corner of my block. I became accustomed to dirty smells and high energy and cab drivers who hardly speak English. I embraced the melting pot of culture and personalities that may clash anywhere else in the world, but that work to keep this great place going. I learned that best friends sometimes don’t come in the form of beating hearts and shared agendas, they come in encouraging words, a few extra cherries in the bottom of your cocktail, and that feeling you get when you’ve killed the insane project your boss designated you.

I haven’t fallen in love.

I haven’t mastered a foreign language or discovered a new art.

I haven’t even figured out who I want to be.

But I know who I am and I know what I’m doing.

I’m growing up.

Someone once told me in quite a condescending manner to, “grow up.”

Well I was.

And I have.

And I still am.

And damn him for trying to rush me. TC Mark

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