Wrestling With Adulthood: Unitarian Universalist Men Talk about Growing Up is a book of essays, one of which was just published in UU World: "Finding my path..." by Manish Mishra. Mishra really bares his soul in this essay -- I actually felt embarrassed while reading it, as if I should not know such intimate details of this man's life.
Mishra contrasts the certainty he had about his life with his later discoveries, demonstrating how he inadvertently chose both the wrong career and the wrong life partner ("vocation and human connection") when in his early twenties. At the time, of course, he was completely convinced that he was doing the right thing. Does this sound familiar to any of you?
Now, Mishra realizes that he entered into both the career and the partnership without knowing who he was or what he wanted. Perhaps for some of us, we have to choose the wrong things in order to find out what we really do want. Nothing fuels self-discovery like being miserable. It provides such great incentive! But, really, how could anyone possibly make permanent decisions when only twenty years old?
When I was nineteen, I was completely sure I was marrying my life partner. People asked how I was so sure, but my answer was, "When it's right, you know it." That is a line from a beer commercial, I think! In reality, I did not realize at the time why I was drawn to that man. It wasn't for the best reasons. There is a term for relationships in which folks marry young, don't have children, then divorce before they're thirty: the starter marriage.
Some people complain about "extended adolescence" that seems to grip so many of us, but I think it is great. Life expectancy is longer than ever, so waiting until 30 or 35 to become a responsible, settled adult is perfectly reasonable.
Enough of this -- let's play kickball!