The Hardest Part About Growing Up

This has been on my mind a lot lately — what’s the most difficult thing you have encountered as an adult?

To put it simply, I would say it is not being anyone’s first person anymore. I get the term “first person” from Rosianna Halse Rojas’ video, in which she talks about how communication changes as we grow older, especially when we find ourselves as a single individual whose friendships are changing as more and more friends find themselves in serious relationships. So perhaps this most difficult part about growing up is only specific to single adults, but I think it can still carry weight for anyone in the midst of their twenties.

I wrote about what it was like to see my best friend get married in a post over a year ago, and I’m still adjusting. Not only to how our friendship looks like now, but to how many of my friendships are looking like. I don’t know if I’ll be single forever, but that is not really the thing that concerns me. What is difficult about being the only single friend is the fact that I no longer feel like someone’s first person — the person they go to first with any news good or bad, with any problems, or to seek advice. The truth is, they are my first people, as a collective, but knowing that I am not a single one of theirs, is the hardest pill to swallow.

Sometimes it fills me contempt for their significant others, making me blind to how happy they make each other, seeing their relationship as toxic, when really it’s the only way I know how to cope with not being my best friend’s best friend. It’s hard to not feel needed anymore by anyone. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that as we all get older, somehow less and less value is placed in relationships that don’t come with a romantic component.

I want to see weddings as celebrations, not losses. I wish the thought of being in a relationship didn’t make my skin crawl. All of my thoughts and feelings on romantic relationships and significant others is unhealthy, I know, and I always hate myself when I find myself craving one. I can’t seem to shake my feelings on dating and how shallow it all seems, to only want to get to know someone to see if you might want to marry them some day. Somewhere inside I know it’s ridiculous to see it that way, but it’s always there. Mostly romance seems like an exclusive club that I’ll never gain access to, and I only want in because it’s where all my friends are going.

This all seems like the ravings of a sad single girl, who hopelessly seeks solace in books and music but never the real thing. And maybe that’s true. But it’s also a little more — or even a little less, depending on how you look at it. Mostly it’s just me struggling with the fact that my friends have to pencil me in now because their time is always being spent elsewhere. And it’s just me trying to convince myself that this is just a by-product of growing up and all of us have more responsibilities now – it’s the Age of Doing Things, after all. And it’s just me simultaneously trying to convince myself that it has nothing to do with me, that my friends still care about me, but in a different way, that they still want to be my friends, that I won’t feel this lonely forever, whether that’s because I’ll find myself in a relationship of my own or because they’ll figure out for themselves that friendships are still important, too.

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