When Did I Become Grown?

When we were kids, we couldn’t wait to be grown. Not just grown-ups, or adults, but grown. To be grown meant something specific. It held a certain prestige or status that being a grown-up or an adult didn’t hold. I can’t define what grown mean to my 10-year-old self, beyond knowing that it was a state that I couldn’t wait to reach.

I had a lot of time to think on Friday, while I was losing my mind prepping calibration standards and analyzing them (I need a new job! But I digress…). Somehow I started thinking about my childhood & how far I’ve come. When you’re a kid, you think life is so easy. You plan to breeze through college, get married, have a couple of kids, the house with the picket fence, and be a VP by day & a jetsetter by night all by the time you’re 30. And then you’ll be grown.

As I was in the lab running samples, I realized that I don’t feel grown. I still think of myself & view myself as in the process of becoming grown, but I don’t think I’m there yet.

Sure I’m an adult, and I’ve done/do a lot of adult things. I get up & go to work everyday even when I don’t feel like it. I pay bills first & make sure I have food, shelter, etc before I go out & play. I have a retirement plan, I read the newspaper cover to cover & care about things like politics. Sounds like adult stuff to me. But in my mind, I still see myself as young & carefree. When I think of an adult, I’m not the first thing that comes to mind.

So what exactly is being grown? I’m still not sure that I know. Maybe it’s a state of mind. A level of wisdom & maturity. A list of accomplishments. Or maybe it’s simply a state that one can only achieve by simply believing they are grown, in a Rene Descartes sort of way.

When will I start to feel like I’m grown? When did you feel that way?




  • I was talking about the same thing with my coworker last week. I’m not the youngest, but I’m not a vet yet. It’s an odd time because I can’t really kick it with the interns even though it seems like just yesterday I was in their shoes!

  • I didn’t really and truly feel grown until Sophia started Kindergarten and by then I was 36, owned a home for 10 years and been married for 13 years.  For me I only started feeling that way once I realized I had to truly make decisions that would be so impactful to her view of the world.  I think I viewed grown as being in charge of something other than yourself.  

    I think we are doing adulthood quite differently than our parents so our “grown” is so different then what we saw growing up.