Friends and Their Ages: So Many Life Stages!

I’ve done some amazingly fun crafts with the kids at work this week, but I haven’t had time to process through the pictures in order to brag about it, so instead of crafts or cooking tonight, I’m offering some random thoughts.

I am a year and a half out of college, and I still have some friends who are in college, finishing up final exams this week. I see their statuses on facebook where they share with the world how few hours they slept, or how many hours they studied for a specific final. As I read these status updates and the comments that come along with them, I wonder have I really been out of college long enough that I can’t remember what finals feel like? Then, I go to work, and I plan crafts for the kids and I read with them, and I think some of these children have parents that are my age. Technically, some of these children could be mine. Instead of putting them on a bus at the end of each day, I could be putting them to bed at night.  For these experiences and conversations with the kids, I feel old. I’m financially independent from my parents, living on my own in a different state, I have my own car, and I’m responsible for my welfare. I look at all of those things and I think Yep, I’m pretty grown up. 

But then, on Thursdays, I go to bible study and dinner parties, and I go into beautiful homes where happy families live out their daily lives. I envision family dinners that range from, “Mom, she’s throwing things at me!” to, “Dear Father, can you pass me the green beans?”, as I sit in their living rooms and chat with them. Children run in and out of the room and conversation topics range from long work hours to disgusting diaper stories to class field trips. I sit in the midst of all of this and wonder how am I in this place, with friends that have children in elementary school, when it seems like I am so much younger than they are?  I don’t have a significant other right now, and I’m okay with that. I don’t have kids, or a house, or any kind of career that is going to carry me through for any extended period of time. Sitting in these houses and leaving when parents are sending their kids off to bed (because it’s a school night, of course), I think Will I ever grow up?

Age has always been a silly concept for me. My friends pretty much range from 19-35. Some have never dated, while others are engaged or newly wed. Some are expecting their first child, and others have two or three. I figure that I can worry about fitting in with any group, or I can enjoy them all for what they are. I can learn from each person in my circle of friends, and enjoy them as a person, no matter what their life stage is. I feel a bit intimidated when I try to imagine what my life will look like in 10 years, so I won’t try. I’m content to know that this is my life, that these are my friends, and that there will always be more room for growth.