That is the age when I finally felt like a real life grown up. It happened shortly after I turned 33 a little over a month ago. Maybe it was because I was finally closer to my mid-thirties than my 20s? I don’t know. But it happened. I woke up one day (and I can’t remember the exact day or time), but I woke up feeling all kinds of responsible. It felt like my insides had finally caught up with my outer life. Since the day I turned 17 and moved out of my parent’s house to join the Marines, I always felt like my life was some sort of an out of body experience. I was just some kid longing for my Doc Martens watching some future version of myself playing the role of an adult. I’m not even sure how I kept myself alive all those years, much less do the same for two kids to the ages of ‘almost’ 5 and 7.
The day that I woke up feeling like a grown up my life flashed before my eyes. Wasn’t I still just a punk, rebellious 17 year old kid the night before? And now I was a grown up? I woke up to a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house in the suburbs in Northern Kentucky, thousands of miles away from ‘home’, with two tiny male humans that I had made. It’s not that I was going through the motions all of those years or doing bare minimum. Quite the opposite, actually. I had accomplished more by the age of 23 than most people would do in their lifetime. And in the decade that followed I had gotten married, bought a house, had two kids, got a divorce, had a few grown up jobs… But it’s that I always felt as if future Maria was living life while 17yo Maria was on the inside pulling the strings and calling all the shots.
Becoming a grown up at the age of 33 is frightening. I woke up that day and I was no longer invincible.