Our theme for the month of November is “firsts.”

“One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.” – Peter Pan

My first memory takes place when I was two. I know because the memory takes place when we still lived in North Carolina, at a pool party for my father.

I am sitting on his lap. There is cake. Many people are singing. I am not pleased, because I am soggy and shivering, and, being fairly certain that I am the pin upon which the entire universe hinges, I do not understand why no one will bring me a blanket and a box of Dunkaroos.

Sometime in between that moment and this one, I grew up, I think.

When I was eight, a girl in my cabin at camp told me hot dogs were made of pink slime and MEAT SLURRY.

When I was ten, someone chastised my mother for whispering during the church offering.

When I was twenty-three, I blew a tire on the highway, driving home from parent-teacher conferences. I replaced the tire by iPhone light, in heels and red flannel pajama pants.

Do you want to grow up?

You may.

As a matter of fact, you should. It’s important to grow up. Grown-ups can do things like drive cars, talk about politics, and be college professors.

Growing up is weird. One minute, you’re saying to your sister, “So when did the kissing get REALLY good?” The next minute, you’re standing outside, saying, “Excuse me, sir. You need to leave. This is private property.”

Then, you’re telling your mentee that it’s okay if she doesn’t know yet who she wants to be. Later, you’re in the club dancing to “Despacito” and thinking my abs are so fabulous right now, you could use them as a dinner tableeeeeooooOOHHHH, MY GOD, WHO AM I?!?

Growing up is a process.

First, you’ll notice that the world isn’t just orange push-ups and Math Blasters on CD-ROM.

Then, you’ll notice that there are people with Flip Glosses, hair straighteners, and boyfriends.

Then, you’ll notice that those people are not you.

Then, you’ll admit to people that you read Les Miserables for fun, and they’ll still like you.

Then, you’ll notice that the boy who stole your sunglasses out of your backpack ABSOLUTELY did it because he thinks you have a smart brain and a good butt.

Then, you’ll notice that a breakup is not a death sentence, and that A Song of Ice and Fire is a phenomenally intoxicating series of books with an infinitely impressive sub-Reddit community.

Then, you’ll notice that there are people who pick up Clif Bar wrappers after you drop them on the ground and people who get grounded on the weekend when you don’t give them “A”s.

It will seem that you’re very perceptive, until you realize that you notice things about once every few years. And sometimes you notice them wrong.

You can’t remain the same forever. And that’s good. I enjoy reaping the benefits of object permanence and moral subjectivity. I heard someone say once that, at twenty-five, you’ve pretty much solidified the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life.

I hope to God that’s not true. I know many twenty-seven-year-olds, forty-five-year-olds, and ninety-nine-year-olds who are leagues smarter than red flannel pajama pants, Flip Gloss, and “Despacito.” The person I am now is taken aback and slightly embarrassed by the person I was at twenty-two, and the person I was at twenty-two was taken aback and slightly embarrassed by the person I was at seventeen.

We grow. And the only thing more foolish than trying to stop it is trying to believe that it is done.

I hope, five years from now, I’m taken aback and slightly embarrassed by this blog post, or one I wrote last month, or just the general silliness of things that I think, right now, in this current stage of tripping along through life.

May you never fool yourself into thinking that you are done.

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