There I was, sitting outside on my lunch break, drinking a violently green-colored juice BECAUSE I AM HEALTHY and eating a Toblerone BECAUSE I AM SOMETIMES HEALTHY watching a young mother chase her ginger-haired kid around a cluster of potted plants. I could hear her voice rising as both her temper and the child began to get away from her, and I briefly wondered if I should help her snatch the boy before some roving kidnapper did. Then I remembered I am exceedingly anti-screaming toddler before devouring the rest of my unbalanced lunch and walking back to work. But the image continued to stick with me: the young mother and her wayward child. How much older could she be than me? Why did it feel like the distance between us was more akin to miles than just yards?
well this makes me feel great
Perhaps this story should have a preface to it- I am staring down the barrel of twenty-five and it is starting to scare the hell outta me. There has been a great deal of discussion amongst my friends and I, especially the ones facing a similar birthday, about what it means to be an adult. To put it less eloquently, many of us feel like we have no freaking idea what we are doing!
In the age of social media, there have no doubt been others who have logged onto the Facebook or the Instagram (I enjoy putting "the" in front of these things because it makes me sound uninformed and ironic) and seen images of friends and acquaintances celebrating an engagement or a budding baby bump. These things have traditionally been markers of adulthood, however you define it. But now that my fellow millennials are approaching their mid-twenties and thirties, more and more of us are waiting to undertake the roles of spouse, parent or even homeowner. So how do we determine when we are finally adults, especially with the roar of a quarter-life crisis in our ears?
Ooh, look an infograph!
Perhaps I'll make a list. Lists make me happy. So here is what I think is slowly turning me into an adult.
Step 1: Drive a sick ride, preferably with a stick shift because WOMEN SHOULD KNOW HOW TO DRIVE A STICK SHIFT.
I inherited my Dad's '93 Volvo. I named it Fred and he had a sunroof and a car phone. With a cord. Since I lived about thirty minutes away from my school and friends, this set of squeaky wheels meant freedom and freedom meant adulthood. I also learned that paying for gas sucks and necessitated a job. So I got a job. Also very adult-y. Lets squeeze that into step one also. Drive a car and get a job.
Step 2: Driving in cars with boys (or girls).
Step 3: Move outta da house.
In a 2012 Clark University study of 1,029 people ages 18-29, 70% of those polled lived separately from their parents, and 74% felt that this was important to them. Aside from that 4% who are probably feeling a little disconcerted, this seems to be a logical step in the adulthood process for most people. I distinctly remember moving out of the house for college because it was my 19th birthday and I found a hair in my sandwich when we went out for a celebratory lunch. Happy memories.
Step 4: Learn to pay your own damn rent.
There comes a point when you realize that a lot of what being an adult means is managing financials and spending money on stuff without which you would probably die. A recent painful, physically and monetarily, trip to the dentist confirmed this for me. I could have bought so many pairs of shoes instead… sigh. But having teeth and a roof over my head are sorta non-negotiable.
Step 5: Get some freakin' health insurance.
This is tough for me because I pay part of the insurance that I have under my dad's plan, so once I turn 26 (NOT YET) this will become a new challenge. But regardless of whether or not you like Obamacare or whatever, remind yourself that you're getting older. You might break a hip. That shiz is expensive. See above.
Step 6: Learn to like a food that you previously thought was disgusting.
For me it was mushrooms. One day I just turned around and was like, YES PLEASE, load up my pizza with these funny little fungi. I love it.
And then I became my mother.
But seriously, expand your horizons. Eat better food. Do not subsist on cookies and peanut butter for the rest of your life.
Step 7: Stop caring so much about what other people think.
This is the kicker right here. So much of what I hear and read and discuss relentlessly about growing up is about developing confidence and ignoring all the haters who tell you you can't do whatever the F@%K you wanna do. It's insanely hard sometimes. But that's why you have friends who are the same age and older and younger to guide you, like little roving oracles. Let's all be carefree and lost together!
Step 8: Remember that everybody does it his or her own way.
We're all different, right? We all go down our own path, in our own woods, and veer left or right on whichever road we so choose. Some of us get married young and are fabulous. Some of us never get married and are fabulous. A few of us have babies. A few of us watch other people's babies run around and eat chocolate for lunch. I think all of this is okay.
Step 8: Write a list that makes it seem like you know what you're talking about, and then realize maybe you're not as clueless as you thought you were after all.
So while this is definitely not everything I have accomplished in my life that has made me into the almost-25-year-old I am today, it is a happy reminder of everything that I have already done and all the things I have left to grow from a child to just a child at heart.
Forget everything I said, this is absolutely correct.
What are some of the things that make you feel more like an adult? Tell us in the comments below!
images c/o: poorlydrawnlines.com, anijohnson.com, emenem42.com