Growing up and Successful Adulting in 2014

I haven’t written anything in a really long time. I think it’s been over a year actually…

2014 has been an odd one. I think it’s felt a lot like… trying to walk across an ice rink in sneakers: Do-able, but in a kinda sorta not really but yes but you also face-planted and fell on your butt a thousand times so….

What I mean to say is… Have you ever had a period in your life where nothing was going really bad so you can’t complain but, nothing feels like it’s going really great? And you’re left wondering how you’ve really progressed in life or how you’re improving as a person?

These past few months, my biggest obstacle has been: How do I adult? I’m 25 now which, has sort of been a benchmark year when I’ve thought of my life as a young’n. Like… at 25.. I’m definitely a grown-up and I know things. Except I don’t know things and I have to google everything and gosh, if I didn’t have a smartphone I’m pretty sure I’d just be wandering around lost somewhere. And it’s a horrifying realization when I have to deal with “grown-up” things because my first instinct is to find an adult to do these sort of grown-up tasks but then to realize, “… I’M supposed to be an adult.” I need a better adult…

I’ve been having random flashbacks. I’m a person with a terrible memory. Like.. I know I’ve done things in life and have memories but I can never recall them until something reminds me of them. And then I’m like, “Oh that’s a really good story.. I should remember that for parties so people think I’m interesting.” But then I immediately forget. Anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, the cafe I work at has these little.. baby pumpkins that aren’t actually pumpkins because they’re actually squash… Anyway, I was looking at them and I had this flashback to a time when I was a kid at halloween. I loved these mini-“pumpkins” and I carved one like a jack-o-lantern. And I wanted so bad to light it like a regular jack-o-lantern because it was so small and cute so I begged my mom to make it work. She tried to let me down easy and explain that it just wasn’t possible (physics.. science.. whatevs). But she tried to make it work anyway. Like.. spent way too much time when it was just obviously impossible.

And then today, I had this memory of a time when it had snowed. I think I was in kindergarten and I was so excited for snow and desperate to build a snowman. Mom knew it wasn’t the snowman building kind of snow… it was the really powdery what-even-is-the-point-of-you kind of stupid snow (it’s actually a really pretty kind of snow that I now appreciate but am still a little bitter at) but I wanted that darn snowman so bad she took me out anyway. She brought a large metal bowl with her from the kitchen full of water to try to make the snow stick together. It didn’t work. Again, she tried to make it work when it just… obviously… was not going to work.

These memories… They make me feel sad. I’m not sure if that’s the correct appropriation of what I’m feeling.

I associate my childhood with a lot of loneliness, pain, and brokenness. I feel a lot of regret and wrestle daily with the feeling that I am not at all how my parents wanted me to be.

There are words that were said that no matter how much I try to understand and realize that they just said in a moment of anger that will always burn in my soul. There’s collateral damage and hits taken in the crossfires of a broken marriage that I’ll carry on my shoulders. There’s guilt that I repeatedly came up short for everything they dreamed for me.

I think a lot of us are in this boat. Childhood can be so difficult to understand and sometimes it’s just easier to make it black and white because.. somehow that would make all the crap and the hurt easier to take. I hate thinking too deeply about my childhood. I never want to. The generalizations make it easier.

But these flashbacks of late, I think they make me sad because what got lost in the black and white generalizations were the very real evidences of a child who was indeed loved.

Am I awful that it was so hard and took so long to realize that while yes, there was a lot of bad stretching across my childhood years, I was still loved? There’s a part of my brain that just believes these two truths are mutually exclusive. But I remembered all the bad and forgot about the good.

Like… I’ve also just remembered her being mad at me on so many nights because I went to bed but was not actually sleeping. She knew this because she would come in to kiss me on the forehead while I was supposedly sleeping only to find that I was still awake.

Year 2014 is coming to a close. My doctor is technically still my pediatrician because I don’t know how my medical insurance works or how to find a grown-up person doctor.. I still don’t completely understand how this credit card situation works and I still don’t understand car insurance.. I occasionally eat gummy bears for breakfast and I still feel like I need parental permission to leave my house for more than a day at a time. All this to say.. I’m really bad at this adulting thing at 25 years old.

But I think the most grown-up thing I’ve done this year is realizing that despite all the bad, I was and am a loved child. I never really considered myself a “loved child” before and that mental shift is pretty powerful to me.

Sometimes life gives you really small pumpkins that are actually squash. Sometimes the snow is too powdery. I think she did the best with what she had. That’s all we can really do and I think that’s all I can really ask of her.

This holiday season, I thank God for the gift of these memories. I thank God for a life that’s really full of love.

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About Vicky Wong

Facebook Stalker, ESFP, InterVarsity groupie, and Christ-follower. I try to stay real. Like J-Lo.

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