On Being a Grown-Up


I’m not certain when the exact moment was, but it happened. There was a point when I realized that everything that I had allowed to form ideals in my mind, things I had read over and over, were in fact works of fiction. I’m sure it started when I was very young and started reading the tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. To my young mind those characters were real, or at least had real-life counterparts; happiness, sunshine, Prince Charming and such…. As I got a little older my literary tastes changed to include Nancy Drew and The Babysitter’s Club; mystery, excitement, adventures…. Eventually I started reading Cosmopolitan and Harlequin romance novels; the perfect combinations of excitement and sunshine. Then as a “mature” adult Danielle Steel popped onto my reading radar and I voraciously consumed every novel she had written at that point….roughly 3462….give or take a few. But, no matter the author or the venue, the message remained the same. Girlhood was filled with sunshine and rainbows save for the evil queen who would attempt to ruin things for you (your mother most likely) but because of your sweetness and beauty you would be whisked away by the perfect man and your life would be nothing other than wonderful. Adolescence would be a time of adventure and excitement where you would form bonds with your girlfriends that would last a lifetime, never to be severed by outside forces; you would solve problems and save the day and be heralded a hero and would of course find true love that would last a lifetime and bring nothing but joy. Then when you reach adulthood you will have sexual experimenting and “find yourself” and become a tiger in the sack, able to satisfy your man and have him begging for more, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will never want anyone but you because you are amazing, all whilst climbing up the corporate ladder in your career and crashing through the glass ceilings on your way to the top. You will of course experience difficulties but nothing that doesn’t propel you forward. You will never be sad or frustrated or sick or lonely or jealous…..

Then I woke up. This stuff is called FICTION for a reason.

Real life isn’t a fairy tale or an erotic novel….it’s a melodrama, a Lifetime movie…. Days are filled with frustration and anger. Disappointment is real. We don’t all win the prize. The government is an evil queen, threatening to take away our personal liberties. We work day in and day out, often with no appreciation or recognition. Our adventures are limited to choosing between bowling and Netflix. Our pets poop in the house, they knock over the garbage can, they growl at the postman…. Our children throw fits and make bad grades from time to time and get into trouble. Our sex life slows to a mere crawl. We’re tired and grumpy and grouchy. Our dinners burn, our cars break down, we lose our jobs, we grow apart from our partners, we cry at night, our family members pass away, we gain weight, we lose touch. Of course we also get to watch soccer games and dance recitals. We see first steps and lost baby teeth. We find love, get our hearts broken, learn more about ourselves…. We smile and laugh, we make memories and take photos. We try jobs and move on when they don’t fit. We meet our neighbors and plant gardens and watch our children grow up as we grow old.

Where is the happy medium? I don’t want to let go of all my ideals.Yes, I know they aren’t very realistic, but honestly I don’t care. I want to have sunshine and rainbows and to foil the evil queen and to solve problems and be a hero. I want to have friendships that don’t disappear and I want to be a tiger in the bedroom. I want to have a respectable career and accomplish things. I want to change the world for the better. I want to matter.

I guess I want a lot. I blame books.

And for the record, I’m weaning myself slowly…I now read historical fiction. It’s a step……


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