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Friday, February 15, 2013

Grownup

Trent and I were having dinner in a restaurant recently when I happened to notice something that happened at the next table. Two young women had been seated and were asked for their identification before their server could bring them the beer they had requested. Ah, those were the days. Needing to prove that you are old enough to sit at the adults' table. Nowadays the only time I get "carded" (note to my Hungarians: asked for my identification) is when I catch a flight at the airport. Not that I have been ordering tons of alcohol in restaurants or anything. It just made me remember how exciting it was to be considered an adult.

I was chatting with a new friend on Google plus this evening, and before I knew it, I had an old lady moment. Instead of just telling this friend that I am not the most techno-savvy person in the world, I had to say that when I was a kid, a computer filled a whole room and it had to be fed punch cards with encoded data. Then I realized what I had done and called myself on the carpet for it. Had I just had one of those "back in the olden days when I was a kid" moments? Thank goodness I didn't lose my mind completely and say something really crazy about walking to school in the snow, barefoot and uphill both ways. (If that makes no sense to you, ask someone who is older, they will tell you why it's funny.)

I have to tell you that there are advantages to becoming more mature. Okay, getting older. Some of the things that bothered me when I was younger are not that important to me now. I was always buying new clothes and shoes to try and keep in fashion. I would stand all day in high heels and come back to work the next day in another pair. I got my hair and nails done and never went to work without my makeup on. When I became older and wiser I realized that I wasn't making myself happy with all of that stuff.  So now I don't wear super-high heels. And Trent can tell you that getting me to go shopping for clothes is not all that easy. And I seldom wear makeup. Every so often, mostly as a joke, when we are getting ready to go somewhere we will ask each other if the pieces of our outfit "go together." Then, before the other one answers, we will just say, "Oh, whatever. I'm old enough not to care."

Why is this important? If we are lucky, all of us come to a point in our lives where we learn to be comfortable with ourselves. Instead of trying to disguise ourselves with layers of makeup and shoes and office-ready suits, we realize that who we really are can be enough. The outside appearance may be important in some situations. After all, if you want to be an executive you may not get there by wearing torn up jeans and a t-shirt. But holding yourself to an artificial and unreachable standard of beauty can be self-destructive. And let me tell you, feeling that you are okay just the way you are is a gift. And nobody can give it to you except you.