The Year I Became a Grown-up

Morning walk

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For a long time I’ve been puzzled about why I don’t feel different than I did when I was younger. In a blog post (When do you feel grown up?) from a few years ago, I wrote that “… age really is just a number. We are who we are, and even we mature physically, mentally, and emotionally, deep down we are always the same person. But still, I couldn’t help wondering if other people felt the way I did, or if they thought about it at all.”

This year, I’ve faced a number of personal challenges, and now that I’m on the other side of them, I think I finally feel like a grown-up.

First, my husband was quite ill and was hospitalized for 23 days. Due to his condition, it was up to me to make big decisions about his treatment. While under extreme stress, I also had to look after myself, my home, my pets and my business. Fortunately, I had lots of help on all fronts, but it was really the first time in my life that I was on my own. I’ve always lived with someone, whether it was my parents, my husband, or my housemates in university residence. There was always someone else to either make decisions for me or help me make them.

By the time my husband came home, my father had been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. My siblings and I were lucky that he was very accepting of his situation and was able to tell us his wishes in terms of his care, his personal belongings, and his funeral. However, the day came when he could no longer communicate, and it was a shock to realize I could never ask him anything again, about anything. And as his Power of Attorney and then Executor, I was once again in the position of making decisions on behalf of someone else.

I guess these experiences have forced me to finally become a grown-up in every sense of the word. I can’t say I’m happy about it, but if there’s an upside, maybe I’ll have more confidence in making decisions, something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember.


Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Sharon on September 3, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Sometimes it’s hard to face life challenges that you have never experienced; however, we all go through it and it makes us realize that others before us have had to do this. They survived, and so will we.

    • Janet Barclay on September 3, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      So true! As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

  2. Seana Turner on September 3, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    It’s been a rough year for you, Janet. I’m sorry for all you’ve been through, and the grief of losing your Father. There is such a finality to death, and it is impossible to anticipate how it will feel. I do think coming out of difficult times builds our confidence, showing us that we are capable to handling more than we perhaps thought. May the upcoming year be one of blessing and peace!

    • Janet on September 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you so much, Seana. You’re so right about being unable to anticipate how we’ll feel. In some ways this experience was harder than losing my mother, even though I always considered myself closer to her. It just may boil down to the fact that as hard as it was to lose her, I still had a living parent, and now I don’t.

  3. Hazel Thornton on September 3, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Dear Janet, your post reminds me of a favorite saying: “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch, but on her own wings. Always believe in yourself.” I once wrote a blog post about it (, including a list of unfortunate events I have overcome in my life. Sounds like you found out your wings are strong! Love, Hazel

    • Janet on September 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Thank you, Hazel. I have read your blog post before, and I’ve certainly gotten through my share of trials in the past, so I knew my wings were strong, but this is the first time I truly felt like an adult.

  4. Nancy Haworth on September 3, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Janet, I’m sorry you’ve had tough personal challenges this year, but thankfully those made you stronger. I understand what you mean about finally becoming grown up after such difficult situations. Both of my in-laws and my parents passed away in recent years, and like you, I feel stronger and grown up because of these experiences.

    • Janet on September 4, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks, Nancy. I had a friend who lost his father when he was just a child, and his mother the same day he graduated from university. Unfortunately, he’s gone now too, or I’d love to ask him if he had a similar experience.

  5. Linda Samuels on September 4, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Dearest Janet- My heart goes out to you. What a hard year you’ve had. Dealing with loss and big decisions about your loved ones is about as hard as it gets. There’s a strength that is visible and it seems as though you now feel it too. I know what you mean when does the time come when you feel like a grown-up. For me it was when I became responsible for another and I think that happened the day our first daughter was born. But truthfully, while I feel grown-up, I still have a lot of little kid in me…and I like that.

    • Janet on September 5, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Thank you for sharing, Linda. I’m hoping the little kid in me will come back soon.

  6. Lisa Gessert on September 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Janet…thank you for sharing this…I am sorry to hear of all your obstacles and loss…makes us better people in the end ..I hope. I have had a tough 4 1/2 years..without going into all the details, I think I am finally feeling that grown up aspect too…not sure I am liking it…

    again, thank you or i always say ” we don’t walk around with signs around our necks showing how we are feeling on any given day” it’s nice when we can share them.

    hugs to you..


    • Janet on September 6, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks, Lisa. I struggled for several weeks with whether this was worthy of a blog post, but since it tied in with something I’d previously written about, I decided to go ahead with it. I appreciate your kind words!

  7. Sue West on September 6, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    This was “worthy” of a blog post. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to lose a second parent. It’s hard, the finality. It’s hard to know what to say, what to decide and then we let it go. It’s hard to believe things will get easier or become some kind of normal again. And yet: look at all you got back in comments. And every time you do make a decision, you’ll be thinking of two important people in your life. And that’s one way to keep them present. ~Sue

    • Janet Barclay on September 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      Wow, Sue, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank you so much!

  8. Janet Barclay on May 11, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Thank YOU for sharing, too! I know you’ve also had some rough patches in recent years, and although I knew you’d lost your father at a young age, I’d never stopped to consider what effect that had on you and your family. So glad all is well now!

  9. Sue Edwards on October 19, 2022 at 9:01 am

    Here I am so many years later, realizing how many similar personal challenges we were dealing with in 2018 Janet. Wish I had been of support to you then. No doubt you have been “adulting” for some time now!

    • Janet Barclay on October 20, 2022 at 8:57 am

      I suspect that we were both busy coping with our individual challenges that communicating with one another was very low on the priority list. It sounds like connecting at that time might have benefitted us both!

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