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Does anyone else feel like a 22 yo in a 44 yo body?


saraha
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I feel like I am faking adulthood all the time. My older kids have figured out that pretty much everything we do is trial and error. Is there some adulting gene we are missing? Does anyone else feel like we should have our ducks in a row by our 40’s but don’t? My dh’s dad is GRANDAD the knower of all things, and my poor dh looks at our beginning fledgers and thinks holy crap, soon I could be the granddad knower of things, owner of the truck, repairman extraordinaire. I feel like there is so much momming of adults I don’t know how to do. We just feel so inadequate to be parents to fledglings and potential grandparents. My father-in-law has some pretty big shoes to fill and dh and I feel like frauds basically.

Are we the only ones?

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You are not alone. Although I am hoping when I turn 40 a magic booklet will show up to tell me all I need to know. 😛 My only saving grace is that my parents didn't know what they were doing either so the shoes I have to fill aren't big.

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Posted (edited)

Dh and I have literally jokingly asked when our kids real parents were going to show up. Only to ourselves of course.

I’m pretty sure that even if dh’s dad was on his deathbed our mostly grown kids would go to him over dh and I for advice, and honestly I don’t blame them.

Edited by saraha
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Not alone. I told kiddo that when I was a kid, I believed I would know exactly what to do in any situation once I became an adult.  And then I got to be an adult and realized that everyone is full of 💩 and basically winging it. 

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1 minute ago, MissLemon said:

Not alone. I told kiddo that when I was a kid, I believed I would know exactly what to do in any situation once I became an adult.  And then I got to be an adult and realized that everyone is full of 💩 and basically winging it. 

I think I said something similar to our one kid who has actually fledged, but everyone younger than him either believes we might still pull it together or has decided that they need to figure out how to work around/manage us. Did NOT see that coming when I was first pregnant. Until I had my own kids, I still thought my mom knew everything, and that I would too.

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I ask my 22 yo daughter and my 27yo son for general advice all the time.  Actually, more often than I ask my peers. LOL DD is wise for her years and gives great, gentle, logical advice. DS27 is very educated (with several classes in theology/phillosphy) and works with youth, so he often has a different , but very clear perspective that I don't immidately think of.  I dont always follow the advice they give, but I like getting a millenials/gen z view of the situation. 

They come to me for advice/conversation all the time too. Quite honestly, once they were 20 or so, we were more equals than parent/child.  My mother-in-law kind of put me in the matriarch position for our families in regards to family events....but aside from that, I'm just learning as I go, just like my kids. 

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There are still times when I think "this is what I'm going to do when I grow up / when I have kids."  I'm 54 and my kids are 14.  😛

The nice thing about it is that I've pretty much gone straight from "I'm to young to care" to "I'm too old to care" [what others think] without any gap in between.  😛

Only recently I've started to realize the illogical nature of "I look forward to just sitting and having coffee with my mom, after I'm retired and done raising my kids."  Will my mom even still be here, and if she is, will she still be a person I can go to for comfort?

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I don’t as much as I used to, but yeah! The fact that my son is older than I was when he was born might have caused that small shift, lol.  Or maybe it’s my regular attempts to urge my daughter to get investment funds rolling.  Or that my mom is finally starting to discuss plans for her aging.

But mostly yes!

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I felt like I was totally faking adulting until my early 50's. Then so much really bad life crap started happening and I had to make so many truly hard decisions that I lost the faking it feeling just a little bit. But it's not completely gone. There's a part of me that still feels like I'm still a young 20-something who should be going to my (now deceased) parents for their advice. I suspect lots of people, even many of us who by anyone's standards have always had it all together, will have that feeling till the end. I tell my boys (both adults) that there's no instruction manual for life, so we're all muddling along figuring things out as we go.

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6 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Not alone. I told kiddo that when I was a kid, I believed I would know exactly what to do in any situation once I became an adult.  And then I got to be an adult and realized that everyone is full of 💩 and basically winging it. 

This.  Plus the realization that the "high school mean girl" stuff doesn't actually always end in high school, that adults aren't magically logical, well-meaning people who always make good decisions and want to help others.  

I'm turning 52 next month and only in the past 5 years or so have I felt mostly like a competent adult.   I think it has more to do with relationships and what I'm doing with my life these days than age though.   And maybe a little comparison to some of the other adults in my life.  

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I started feeling like an adult when my dad was dying.  The parent I was closer to, and who I always went to when I needed advice. Mid 20’s. Which is not to say I know what to do. When I’m not sure, or need reinforcement I use Google or read multiple books on the subject.

I wonder if this is a personality difference. Anyone else INTJ?

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6 minutes ago, Katy said:

I started feeling like an adult when my dad was dying.  The parent I was closer to, and who I always went to when I needed advice. Mid 20’s. Which is not to say I know what to do. When I’m not sure, or need reinforcement I use Google or read multiple books on the subject.

I wonder if this is a personality difference. Anyone else INTJ?

 

I am.

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9 minutes ago, Katy said:

I started feeling like an adult when my dad was dying.  The parent I was closer to, and who I always went to when I needed advice. Mid 20’s. Which is not to say I know what to do. When I’m not sure, or need reinforcement I use Google or read multiple books on the subject.

I wonder if this is a personality difference. Anyone else INTJ?

Yes, I’m an INTJ. I too felt very much like I was still somewhere between 18-26 until I was 45 and my mom died from cancer. I think that I lost my youthful perspective but I don’t feel like I have much mature advice to offer.

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

I started feeling like an adult when my dad was dying.  The parent I was closer to, and who I always went to when I needed advice.

My mother's death was one of those "bad life crap" things that I mentioned in my first post. And it was particularly traumatic for me in that I had to make the decision to withdraw her life support. Then DH's cancer diagnosis. Things like that do have a way of making one feel like an adult. For eight years now except for MIL we (me, DH, our siblings) have been the elders in our family. All that life stuff added up has certainly made me feel less and less like I'm faking adulthood, but it hasn't done a ton to make me feel like I always know what to do. Hard things are still hard, it's just that my definition of what is hard has contracted a lot. Most things aren't hard.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I opened this thinking you physically feel 22 and I was so jealous.  I physically feel 60s.  

I think this last year plus has taught me how much I don't feel like an adult and how much I don't want to be one either.   Like I had general thoughts or plans of what it was to be a parent of a young kid, grade schooler, and so on.  But then through in a pandemic and it is something I never even once thought I would have to deal with.  I am just totally lost thinking what am I doing?  Probably the older teen and young adult ages of parenting makes it even worse when you are faced with so many different things.  Maybe it gets better after you get a few years in and don't feel like a newbie.   I always feel lost when I am a parent of a newbie of something.  School, sports, new age.   

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4 hours ago, Wheres Toto said:

This.  Plus the realization that the "high school mean girl" stuff doesn't actually always end in high school, that adults aren't magically logical, well-meaning people who always make good decisions and want to help others.  

I'm turning 52 next month and only in the past 5 years or so have I felt mostly like a competent adult.   I think it has more to do with relationships and what I'm doing with my life these days than age though.   And maybe a little comparison to some of the other adults in my life.  

I've experienced more mean-girl stuff as an adult than I ever did in school. You'd think it would be the other way around, but no 😞

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8 hours ago, SKL said:

The nice thing about it is that I've pretty much gone straight from "I'm to young to care" to "I'm too old to care" [what others think] without any gap in between.  😛

I love this! I'm going to embrace this point of view.

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4 hours ago, Katy said:

I started feeling like an adult when my dad was dying.  The parent I was closer to, and who I always went to when I needed advice. Mid 20’s. Which is not to say I know what to do. When I’m not sure, or need reinforcement I use Google or read multiple books on the subject.

I wonder if this is a personality difference. Anyone else INTJ?

I'm INTJ.

What I wrote above is obviously only part of the story.

I was referred to as a "little old person" when I was in primary school.  In most ways, I was responsible beyond my years.  I had a lot of house and childcare responsibilities while still in elementary school.  Like more than some young adults have.  And I'm pretty sure it was that way because I was able to shoulder it pretty well.

So in many ways, I went into adulthood and parenting feeling pretty competent.  But that is not to say I felt old.  😛

My folks are both still living, thankfully.  Also, I have five siblings, so when my folks do pass, I won't be alone.  I will have friends and siblings who are old enough for a golden buckeye card.  I still dread not having my parents to talk to, though.  We don't even talk that often, but when we do, it feels different from anything else somehow.

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Just maybe...

 

 While I understand it is very Leave It to Beaver to be 45 and come up with the wise solution each episode, have you ever considered it is far more “adult” to admit you don’t know, ask for input, and have real discussions with our kids than make pronouncements?

 

I have then benefit of parenting kids in my twenties, thirties, and forties. I am more willing at this point to ask for help, apologize, admit I don’t know stuff...

Did I think I’d have it more together? Well, sure, but that’s a human thing. Every person thinks that some day their “real life” will come along. The danger is, once recognizing it’s a lie, continuing to live in that mindset. 😉

The truth is even if you had learned in the ‘90s what to do and how to parent, the rules and world changed over the past thirty years. 
 

This quote by CS Lewis really was life changing for me:

 

”The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day.”

 

 

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3 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

I opened this thinking you physically feel 22 and I was so jealous.  I physically feel 60s.  

I thought that, too - and I actually do physically feel 22 most days, and feel fortunate to do so despite being 52. 

Mentally, I've felt like an adult for a very long time. My parents (and dh's, too) were not the type you would ask for advice about...just about anything, really. So we had to wing it from a young age, and I guess that made us grow up pretty quickly.

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I thought I felt in my 20s (I’m 41) until recently when I started working with people actually in their 20s. Now I realize that no, I am definitely a mom, and I keep wanting to give mom advice like use a crock pot and eat more vegetables and buy sensible used cars so you can open an IRA.

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3 hours ago, BlsdMama said:

While I understand it is very Leave It to Beaver to be 45 and come up with the wise solution each episode, have you ever considered it is far more “adult” to admit you don’t know, ask for input, and have real discussions with our kids than make pronouncements?

With the addition of the word "older" before "kids" in that last sentence, I agree.

I definitely feel like an adult - but that means I don't have all the answers, I ask for help, I look for solutions, and "life" hits hard sometimes.

I guess growing up with a mix of good & bad role models, knowing the adults in my life messed up plenty, and striving to be a better (more mentally healthy) mother than my own was/is formed me differently.

The fact the my kids think my DH & I can fix most everything, that I apparently magically plan ahead & have "an extra" on hand just in case, and that DH knows almost everything colors their view for the future. I openly admit to them asll the time how little I know & that we aren't perfect. I hope my kids understand that adulting is just trying to do the right thing, not necessarily always knowing what that thing is or always being able to do it. 

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15 hours ago, Katy said:

I started feeling like an adult when my dad was dying.  The parent I was closer to, and who I always went to when I needed advice. Mid 20’s. Which is not to say I know what to do. When I’m not sure, or need reinforcement I use Google or read multiple books on the subject.

I wonder if this is a personality difference. Anyone else INTJ?

I am INTJ. I have felt like an adult since age 12. LOL.  

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It depends on what the topic is.  Some things I feel very confident in- other times I call my own mom and ask 😉 I am not and INTJ, but my DH and one kid for sure are.  They both like to talk out options to every single thing- I'm their councilor,  leading them through every option as they make all their contingency plans.  

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I feel like this, too. Not like a 22 year old who wants to go out and party, or anything... just that I don't feel much smarter or more competent than I did when I was 22. At almost 40, it's a bit disheartening to read from those of you older than me and realize I'll probably never feel like an adult!

18 hours ago, Alicia64 said:

I once had a 90-year-old say she still felt like she was 22. ❤️

I have a fear that I'll be 90, feel 22, and have people not want to hang out with me because they think I'm too old and boring. 😕

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My body feels 54 on most days, but I don't feel old or like I have any ducks at all, they've all wandered off, I think.  The good news is I've given up caring what people think now. 

 

 

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