For a long time I’ve been puzzled about why I don’t feel different than I did when I was younger. In a blog post (When do you feel grown up?) from a few years ago, I wrote that “… age really is just a number. We are who we are, and even we mature physically, mentally, and emotionally, deep down we are always the same person. But still, I couldn’t help wondering if other people felt the way I did, or if they thought about it at all.”
This year, I’ve faced a number of personal challenges, and now that I’m on the other side of them, I think I finally feel like a grown-up.
First, my husband was quite ill and was hospitalized for 23 days. Due to his condition, it was up to me to make big decisions about his treatment. While under extreme stress, I also had to look after myself, my home, my pets and my business. Fortunately, I had lots of help on all fronts, but it was really the first time in my life that I was on my own. I’ve always lived with someone, whether it was my parents, my husband, or my housemates in university residence. There was always someone else to either make decisions for me or help me make them.
By the time my husband came home, my father had been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. My siblings and I were lucky that he was very accepting of his situation and was able to tell us his wishes in terms of his care, his personal belongings, and his funeral. However, the day came when he could no longer communicate, and it was a shock to realize I could never ask him anything again, about anything. And as his Power of Attorney and then Executor, I was once again in the position of making decisions on behalf of someone else.
I guess these experiences have forced me to finally become a grown-up in every sense of the word. I can’t say I’m happy about it, but if there’s an upside, maybe I’ll have more confidence in making decisions, something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember.