Take Two #30: Growing Up

By Kyra-lin Hom

One of my best friends is getting married. (!!!) It's been a long process and a three-year engagement, but it is finally happening. Just a couple of days ago, a few of us bridesmaids and the bride-to-be met up in north Seattle for her final dress fitting. (Again, !!!) Minus the gastro-intestinal disasters, it felt like a scene out of the recent film Bridesmaids (2011). We couldn't have been less of a homogenous bunch if we'd tried. I was in sweats from spending the last 12 hours watching my niece, another girl was in her workshop finest, a third could have been cut from a classy Madmen poster and the bride-to-be was her standard gothed-out self. Needless to say, we're all pretty good friends.

So why am I going into all of this? Because one of the advantages of having had several of the same friends for the last near ten years is that you get to go through all of these life transitions together. At 12, we were still in middle school and just beginning our forays into the intriguing territory of boyfriends and girlfriends. Then we made the hop into high school, drinking and the first real dives into adulthood and independence. And having a group of friends complete with both sexes and a variety of sexual orientations just made the transitions that much more fun – or dramatic as the case may be.

In middle school, for all intents and purposes, we were kind of sexless. Sure, some of us girls wore skirts and makeup and most of the boys didn't, but we were all still definitely just girls and boys. As we've aged into women and men, the differences have become more pronounced. We think differently for one. For another, we've been molded differently by how the world treats us. It was a slightly repulsive realization and now an ongoing joke amongst my friends that the women have become the mothering caretakers while the men in the group think that a round of Febreeze is equivalent to doing a load of laundry. Of course that's blanketing the issue but you get my point.

I even remember when two of my closest girlfriends and I first encountered our dreaded biological clocks. See near the end of high school, we three were starting to look at relationships differently. Without meaning to, we had transitioned into the realm of 'will this person be a good life companion?' Our significant-other-criteria was beginning to evolve. Near the end of college we were, as one of them put it, 'beginning to feel our ovaries.' Regardless of whether or not we actually wanted children of our own, children have phased from the annoying to the adorable. I've always liked kids so it wasn't quite as dramatic as all that for me. But for the friend who made the ovary comment, it was one of those slow motion “Nooooooooooooo!” movie scenes with the monster barreling down and you caught like a dear in the headlights until you're squished flat. Yes, we all teased her pretty mercilessly about that one.

And now here I am, a bridesmaid for one of their weddings. Well, two I guess, since two of my friends are marrying each other. It's a bit surreal for me, tell you the truth. I've never been one for the color pink or hearts or gazing wistfully into bridal shop windows. Yet even I have to admit that there is something almost primitively feminine about watching a friend or family member pick out their wedding dress. I think it is hard-wired – either by evolution or culture or a bit of both – for unmarried women to to take notes when someone they know does the deed.

This is a scary age for my friends and I to be. We're supposed to be adults yet a lot of us still live at home or in some way rely on our parents. And we're stagnating in the choice between chasing our dreams with all we've got and the practical pressures of independence and growing up. But at least we're in this stage of our lives together. It's stressful, scary and uncharted, but that's what adventure is all about.

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