Beyond Numbers

Every day passes

on. And on. And on.

Now, I am here.

I am here now.

And, it passes.

We age.

In numbers, we are moving on, day after day, year after year. We celebrate the wrinkles of our fathers, we celebrate how much a child has grown against our own bodies. In ten years, there will be wrinkles in our own eyes, in ten years, we will be measuring the height of our own children. We are becoming old. This will never cease until we have ceased to be.

Yet the candles on the birthday cakes, the number of wrinkles, the inches of height, will never tell how much we have grown, really grown. We cannot tell an adult from a child through numbers, for surely true growth is more than that. We see adults behaving as children and children behaving as adults. What really defines someone who has grown, someone who has ripened, someone who has become wise? Like the majority of the other questions in my head, I do not have a definite answer. But I can still explore the idea with what I know.

Having encountered a stage in my life where I can no longer be labeled as a child in numbers, I have been trying to become what I am ‘supposed’ to be. Though I know I am still under the umbrella of my parents, and that I will be for at least the next four years to come, I have started keeping track of some of my finances, I have went to more places alone, I have been making more decisions on my own, and I have tried to become more defined in who I am. I believe these can all be argued as traits of an adult, but what is the very essence of becoming one?

My father always says, “An adult is someone who can care for another.” I agree with this, but I feel I need more. I feel the need of an explanation to why some of those I see as adults seem to get less hugs, why they seem to be less emotional, why they forget their childhood joys and fantasies. I need an explanation to why they seem to talk more than listen, why they have to be seen as being so sure of themselves, why they talk less of love but more of boundaries, rules, and keeping things fair. To become older, do I have to abandon and hide my past self? Do I need to be confident enough to teach the definite? Do I have to look back and say, “Oh, I was so naïve, so unknowing, back then,” dismissing the stages of growth I went through? What is required to care for another?

I have been blessed to have met many adults I want to be like in my life—those who I will try to shape and form my answers from. Adults seem to know the differences—the difference between love and obsession and neglect, the difference between excessive sentimentality and true emotions, the difference between letting go and forgetting. Then, they also know the next step—they can balance what they know. Adults can trust yet make sure what they believe is right, they can tread cautiously, but definitely forward, they can be wrong with the right attitude, they can recognize different perspectives yet be unshaken. With these traits, and so many that branches from them, they can care. They can grow. They can love.