25 Is The New 12
I am not easily offended. At all. I grew up in a family where teasing showed love, and jokes went much further than they ever should have. Inevitably, feelings would get hurt because a joke crossed the line... but over the years, that line has drifted further and further away to the point where I no longer get offended by anything. I have mastered the art of brushing things off and taking it with a grain of salt that people sometimes say the wrong thing... no big deal.
However, in the last year, Tom and I have been asked a particular question on more than one occasion that I find incredibly poor taste. In fact, it's offensive.
"So... what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Okay, on the surface, it seems like a harmless question.
But... how are we supposed to answer that?
"Well, mister, I guess once I learn how to pee-pee on the potty, I'll try to figure that out next!"
"Gee, that's a tough one, because I just learned to color INSIDE the lines!"
I know, I'm being facetious. Really though... why would you ask a 25 year-old, married ADULT that question??
I just cannot wrap my head around it. Is it because the people asking it are older than us, so anyone younger than them is clearly juvenile? Do you want to know my "dream job?" I guess I can't figure out why I get asked the same question that Kindergarten teachers have their students draw a picture of, and hang up on a bulletin board. Frankly, I wouldn't even ask that question of a college student because they are studying a specific field for their careers... they know what they want to "be when they grow up" because they are working on it.
Each time this question has come up, it's left both of us taken-aback. As if we have to somehow explain or prove that we are, in fact, adults. Or like we are still trying to navigate the big scary world and everything is unknown. Just picture for a moment how you would answer that if someone you hardly know asked it. Every time, Tom or I have simply stuttered out "Ummm.. what I'm doing currently...?" It's really awkward.
Let me lay this out for you...
We are 25.
We both have Bachelor Degrees.
We have been working in our specified careers for 3+ years.
We are married.
We just bought a house.
We have two cars.
We have lived outside our parents' homes since age 18.
We've moved across the country (unchaperoned! gasp!)
We have been paying our own bills for a lonnnggg time.
...and the next step in our life is probably having babies.
So, again, what about that is not "grown up?"
I know I'm beginning to rant, but I hate that I feel as though I need to defend my adult-ness. That's why that question upsets me so much... it invokes a reaction to defend. As if all we've worked for and accomplished in 25 years is minuscule. Sure, when I'm forty, twenty-five will seem pretty "baby," but I hope that I can read over this post in 15 years and remember that in many ways, it's not.
True, we have less experiences than our parents and those with children. That is definitely going to be a learning curve and will involve another stage of "growing up," and I get that. We gladly look up to our parents and older siblings with a sense of respect and admiration, knowing they have grown up and done well for themselves. Though we're younger than our parents and siblings, they still wouldn't ask what we want to be when we grow up, because they've watched it happen! So when strangers ask it, it's very startling.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you think it's a rude question? Or do you feel like it's justifiable?