Sunday, October 28, 2012

Grown and Sexy? Redefining being Grown...

Much of today's discussion about adulthood has been centered around the notion of being "grown and sexy". The reality though, if you'll think about the awesome days of childhood, is that there's not much about being grown that's "sexy". Remember back in the day? endless days of play, visits to relatives, schoolyard fun and being relatively carefree? Adulthood, for most of us is just the opposite.

Of course, here at LJL we work to make sure our adulthoods contain those elements that made us happiest as kids; music, art, love, friendship and community. 

Which brings me to my point. Isn't it time we redefined what being "grown" really is. Surely there's more to adulthood than being "sexy".

The grownups I talk to, respect and admire often emphasize the friendships they share with their loved one or significant other as the highlight of their adult relationships, not the sex. The reality is, in a world where being grown came relatively easy to our parents generation, (graduate from school, secure "good" job with benefits, and begin a family) those same markers are often elusive to Generation X and Millennials. The current economic climate has sent many of us right back to our parents' basements, and because of the relaxed climate around marriage and expanding structure/definition of family, the stability and security our parents generation experienced just is not a guarantee.

My thinking around being "grown,"  although my current life closely resembles traditionalism, although through a VERY non-traditional path,  has been altered as I think about the significance of adulthood.

For me, adulthood is less about establishing my own autonomy, and more about being of use to my community. So, while I do work to move forward in my own career, accomplish personal goals and  build and invest in my family, part of my work as an adult is to take advantage of the opportunity it gives me to be of use to more than just myself.

As an educator, my paid work is closely tied to community support. I do way more work than I am paid for, and my hours off the clock never really mean I am off. It doesn't end in the classroom and with more technology comes more access, and more opportunities to teach. My subject matter often means that I not only serve as an academic, but also engage in the work of guiding the personal and emotional maturing of my students.

As a parent, of course I see myself as wholly responsible for the success of my sons, even though they are surrounded by wonderfully supportive extended family, educators, child care workers, neighbors and friends.
But I'm also incredibly concerned about their social circle, and of course the young ladies they attend school with. I'm  concerned about their educational institutions and community activities that are available to all kids.

Lately, I've been engaged in a significant amount of volunteer work and have found a great deal of satisfaction in doing work that supports my community in multiple ways. In this work, I've found the true meaning of being "grown". Its not simply growth, or maturity, but becoming an individual that is useful to the community in a variety of ways.

How do YOU do "grown" LJL family???

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