As I near the end of my first year at Johnson, I find myself in a reflective mood. I'm twenty-five years old. Statistically speaking, I'm somewhere between one-quarter and one-third of the way through my life. In the time I've been here, I've done many things of which I am proud and a few of which I am ashamed. I've enjoyed my time being alive and feel I've used it well thus far. Along the way, I've learned a few things to help me going forward, sometimes by luck and others by trial and error. I've met some very interesting people and experienced some wonderful things. And I've been hard on myself, far harder on myself than anyone should ever be on himself. I'm not alone in that. I'm surrounded daily by people who do the same, people who push themselves to unreasonable limits, who contort themselves into unnatural shapes in an attempt to find some sort of validation. It's an easy habit to fall into, but I'm trying very hard to avoid it. You see, I'm on the verge on a new stage in my life, one that is going to challenge me in ways that I've never been challenged. In the face of these challenges, I think it's important to know who I am and what I believe. If I don't know that, then I don't know anything, and never will.
I have enjoyed growing up, and I continue to enjoy it. My impression is that this sentiment is rare. I often hear people say, "I'm not ready to grow up," "I'm okay not being a grownup for a while longer," "I just want to enjoy being young while I can." That's never made sense to me. It makes even less sense when I hear it from people older than me. I lead a rich, satisfying life, and that has not come from clinging to adolescence. Maybe I've been too aggressive about it occasionally - I haven't so much drifted into adulthood as forcefully charged into it. But I can't fathom living my life any other way. I get no enjoyment from all-day parties and late night bar crawls. Whether by choice, experience, or nature, those things don't speak to me, and never have. I know that about myself. It makes it easier, growing up.
I struggle sometimes with how much of myself to share online. Share too little, and you're a stiff professional with no personality. Share too much, and you're indulging in the Internet's destructive excuse for a support system. I wonder if this dilemma will exist a few years from now, when our social mores have undergone a further shift. For now, though, it makes it difficult to know where the line is. I try to adhere to a simple rule: share less online than you would face-to-face.
I know I would tell you this and more, if we were to meet in person, so I am happy to share it with you now: I am happy to be an adult. I'm sure I appear overly serious and occasionally boring. I don't particularly care. I'm happy being an adult, happier than I was being a teen, and more fulfilled than I was as a college student. I'm happy pursuing things that most people wouldn't pursue, happy setting priorities most people wouldn't set. I still have fun with friends, still enjoy myself, but the terms have changed, as they are wont to do, and I am fine.
So it goes.