Written by Mwabi Kaira
I am weeks away from turning 42 and will be the first to declare my grown status. I tell my kids, the youngsters at the office, the internet, and anyone who will listen that I am grown as fuck and don’t need the foolery that comes with being ungrown. I was assigned to write about Yara Shahidi’s show Grown-ish back when it premiered and had no expectations of it. My college days are long gone, and I got the Freaknik tee to prove it. Class of 1996 National Freaknik League in the house. It was a good time. I sadly got rid of my favorite t-shirt a few years ago cause it had seen better days and it was time. I watched Grown-ish more for being in the know purposes since I have a college age kid and one not too far behind. I wanted to see what the kids are up to post High School these days.
Grown-ish is a well-written show, and this grown-up relates to it so much. The season finale had me in my feelings and had me questioning just how grown I am. Why at almost 42 am I relating so much to these 19-year-old kids? Why at nearly 42 am I still trying to decipher nigga-speak by all the shit they refuse to say or the little they do say that makes very little sense? Why at almost 42 am I still holding my breath waiting for them to get me outside from the dance so they can tell me that they like me and when they do the guy that I really like be standing right behind me watching it all? And why at almost 42 when I’m so confused about everything does the ex that broke my heart into a million pieces show up at my door unexpectedly and suddenly want me back?
Ok, so maybe my life is not a Grown-ish episode, but I’ve had three niggas hit me with the hey big head text in a 24 hour period so I can relate. This is the shit I just knew I’d leave behind in my 20’s but here we are. I would never have imagined that in 2018 I’d be asking men to use their words and say what’s on their mind. I just knew we'd had it together by now. We would have got to the point where we had learned what worked for us and what didn’t when it came to relationships. We would have learned to communicate and face hard decisions head-on. We would know who we wanted, and everything would be peachy. Undoubtedly God set it up for bad decisions to be made in our 20’s with just a little overflow into our early 30’s. By 35 clarity would hit us like a mug and those five years to 40 would be us perfecting it all so we could be ready for our 40’s - the glory days. Nope, as per yoozh (usual), the homey God is out here with our roadmaps in hand knowing our finish lines and just watching us figure it all out like the confused people he made us be. One day we’ll figure it out.
I am grown but still learning. I guess life is designed to be forever grown-ish-ish. A 65-year-old sees me as a baby with so much more to learn, and I look at a 25-year-old with eyes full of pity because girl, who wants ever to go back there? I’m not as quick to jump to conclusions these days, and that comes with age. I have peace now that I didn’t have in my 20’s. Back then I was unsettled in my soul and was chasing the unknown. All my energies went into career and family. I feel settled now, and my future includes jet planes and seeing the world. There are beauty and certainty that comes with being grown and knowing that it is never-ending and always more to learn is pretty exciting.