At some point, we all had to. Wether it was during highschool because you had to help your family, after highschool when you joined the military, or maybe college. These are the times we expect people to say they grew up. I’d say that most of them were wrong.
I didn’t grow up until after I turned 32. Don’t believe me? Ask around. Sure, I joined the army before my senior year of highschool, and went to Iraqi when I was 18. That doesn’t mean I grew up. I got married, did another tour, got divorced, ect. Still hadn’t grow up. Even went to college and got a bachelor’s degree in 3 years. I still hadn’t grown up.
Past highschool, I had a job, bills, and some responsibilities. I had to learn to make a budget, make sure the bills were actually paid on time, and how to keep food in the house. I had to know how to cook that food.
I had to learn what my job entailed, including how to try and save my buddies until the medic showed up. I had to learn some Arabic, and some kurdish, just so I didn’t offend the wrong person and deal with some retaliation. I had to learn what a bomb looked like in a trash heap next to the road I drove. Through all that, I still hadn’t grown up.
I hadn’t grown up until I was 32 because my whole life I either found a way to skate by and do just enough, or I let someone do everything for me. Sure, I’ve known how to cook. Wanna know how often I did? Not very. Same goes for all the other responsibilities, I pawned them off. I used all sorts of reasoning for it, mostly for myself. For the people I used, they either dealt with it or they left.
When I was 32 I had a mental break from reality. Any number of things played their part in it, but at the end of the day I let it happen. Just like all the other responsibilities up to this point, I tried to shove it on someone else. Then I grew up.
When you realize what you’ve lost, who you’ve lost, the life you lost, the future you very well could lose, it wakes your ass up. I woke up, and was disgusted by my life up to that point. I let my fears control my behavior, making me lazy and pathetic. Realizing you’ve not grown up at 32 hurts.
Since this realization, I’ve grown up. I’ve taken responsibility for my actions, my inactions, and my general suckiness. I now handle my shit. Not only do I handle my shit, but I’m rebuilding my marriage, my relationship with my daughter, and introducing my wife to the new me. I’m working on finding us our own place, with no roommates. I am going to my doctor and therapist appointments that before I blew off. I’m taking my meds like I was told. I’m communicating properly, and productively.
The biggest thing is, I’ve grown up enough to be vulnerable. I’ve finally grown up and accept that men can cry, that we can show emotions other than just anger. I can and do break down into tears periodically, and I feel no shame. I truly love another person, aside my self, for the first time ever. I finally let her into my heart. I grew up enough to accept love, and to be able to give it. Unconditionally.
I’m not saying that I don’t still do stupid things, I do. And that’s maturity, fyi. I’ll get to that at some point. I still can be lazy at times, I still haven’t cleaned my room. Even though my floor has clothes and gold fish on it, I made sure to tell my wife I love her quite a few times today. I made sure my daughter was changed and fed, and played with. She was given the attention she needs. My wife was given a nap, some coffee, a sandwich, and my undying devotion. My bills are paid, we’re not starving or dying, we all have clean clothes to wear (even if some may be on the floor). I’m handling responsibilities properly, and I finally have grown up.