Sometimes I find that time can be most easily marked by seeing milestones in the lives of the people around me, as opposed to feeling time passing in my own life.
For example: One of my best friends from college is pregnant with her first child. I think back to my view of age as a kid and a teenager, particularly the way that the teachers -- the grown-ups -- who were in their mid-twenties seemed so... well, grown up. Mature. Wise. Adult. Being twenty-six years old seemed to be light years ahead of me, an age that would take forever to reach. It was an age where people were established in their careers, married, having babies, buying houses, and doing all those other iconic grown-up things.
Now? I'm there. It's my friends who are now the ones getting married, having babies, buying houses, and being real grown-ups. And even though I'm at that age, too, most days I still don't really feel like a "grown-up." I still feel like it's those who are 10+ years older than me who are the adults. Seeing the people around me -- the friends who I grew up with -- mark these very adult milestones is often mind-boggling. It's a clue that I'm there, too. How did that happen?
I also realized recently that I'm crossing a job-seeker's threshold: the five-year mark. When I was searching for both my first job out of college and my current job (where I've been for more than two years now), I was continually frustrated by job ads that said "5 years' experience required." After getting turned down for many jobs for being under-qualified in that sense, it was frustrating to think, "well, how am I going to get that experience if you won't hire me?" But this year marks my five-year anniversary of graduating from college. My five-year reunion will be this fall. I'm crossing that threshold and am now in that 5 years' experience box -- I'm now with those people in the "5-7 years' experience required" category.
When did I become a grown-up? What day did that happen?
And why do I still feel like I'm not old enough to have friends starting families?
What about you, all you grown-ups: do you feel like a grown-up? Do you remember when you realized you were one of them?