At 26, I find that I have “aged out” of being a young adult. That’s a scary realization.
Its not so much age, because I know many young adults who are 25, 26, and even 27. But I am no longer a college student, gap year kid, or recent university graduate. I’m not even working on a graduate degree. At this point, I’m firmly entrenched in the workforce. I’m “established.” Whatever that means.
At the same time, I find this to be an awkward phase of life. Just as much as I don’t fit in with the young adult crowd (and that’s not to say that many of my friends are not young adults–they are), I don’t feel like an adult either. In my mind, for whatever reason, adults are married, probably have kids, and are, well, old. At least older than me. The term “adult” also carries a sense of responsibility and maturity that I hesitate to adopt. I also feel like adults are the people that I look up to–the people who have the wisdom, experience, and maturity that I still lack.
I think the reality is that, yes, I am an adult. But being an adult doesn’t mean that I have to know it all. There will always be people older than me. There will always be people wiser than me. There will always be people with more experience than me. Perhaps that verse about not letting people look down on you because of your youth (1 Timothy 4:12) isn’t just about other people–maybe its about me looking down on me too.
A month ago, I attended a vision meeting for the youth group at church. I’m excited to volunteer and be a part of the youth group, but I’m being pushed towards leadership…a responsibility I’m hesitant to take. I’m only 26! What do I know about leading a youth ministry team? Shouldn’t a Tanzanian step up and lead? Why me? When I write it out, I realize that I sound a bit like Moses trying to avoid God’s call to go and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to step up and lead. Not yet. I’m not sure I can balance the responsibility of leading the church’s youth ministry team with my responsibilities with HOPAC and YoungLife. I’m not sure either whether I’m actually being called to this leadership position, or just feeling the pressure that others are putting on me to take the position.
Last week, I signed a year’s lease on a house and property all my own. In the next two weeks, I will be moving in. I will be responsible for two workers, for water and electricity bills, for maintenance, and who knows what else. In some ways, I’m excited. In other ways, it seems like a huge burden and responsibility that is a bit overwhelming to think about.
What all of this means… I don’t yet know. I’ve actually spent about three weeks attempting to write this post. Attempting to bring all of these thoughts into some kind of coherent, sensible “box”–but they just don’t seem to fit. So here it is, my jumbled mess of thoughts on growing up, of “coming-of-age,” of becoming an adult.