What does it mean to be “grown up?”
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary “Grown Up” means:
1. grown–up adjective \ˈgrōn-ˌəp\
: no longer young : fully grown
: suitable for adults
: like an adult
1: not childish or immature : adult
2: of, for, or characteristic of adults
Hmm. Am I no longer young? Well technically at 28 years old I should developmentally by “fully grown.” Am I like an adult? Well that will most definitely depend on the day and situation. Am I not childlish or immature? I definitely find myself childlish but this is a purposeful intent to continue to find the joy in life as a child would, and not per say act “childlish.” Lastly, do I have the characteristic of an adult? Well, I support myself financially, I make my own life choices and I live independently. Does that make me an adult? Not sure. But enough semantics.
The title of my blog is all grown up with JRA. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at 13 months old. I have most definitely grown up with this disease. I grew up with countless doctor appointments, therapy appointments, medications, pain and surgeries. However, I also grew up with American Girl dolls, elementary school plays, homework assignments, beanie babies, teenage heartbreaks, SAT preparations, college experiences and many other life memories.
Recently I have made many steps in my life towards being “all grown up.” I got married this fall. I got a puppy last spring. I got a new apartment and a new job. My husband started graduate school and our future started to become less foggy. It was at this point, as we started to ponder our goals for starting our own family, I realized I did not have many people to turn to with similar experiences. I found myself wondering, “Now what?” As a child with JRA, there are countless fabulous resources and networks for parents and children. As an adult (which means 40-100 in the RA world) there are many resources for exercises, medications and coping strategies. But I found little helpful information about the active, young adult with JRA. I found myself groping to find information on starting a family while having JRA, pregnancy, parenting and beyond.
That is what I hope to achieve during this blog. I hope to chronicle some of my experiences as I enter the next step towards being “all grown up with JRA.” I have no idea where this blog will take me and I’m not sure if you can ever be “all grown up with JRA,” but I hope to help others like myself find out…