Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Being a grown-up

I remember being really surprised in college when I realized that there wouldn't be a time when I suddenly became a grown-up.

I'm still surprised by this, actually.

It's amazing to me to look around and think about how every single person is sort of making this whole life thing up as we go along. This has become especially clear since the baby arrived. The county has put me in charge of an actual human being, as if I've got shit really figured out. I wonder about that when I'm doing things like drinking boxed wine that has been in the fridge on my sunporch since Thanksgiving (this is an actual event that has happened in my life this week - I forgot it was there, it still tastes fine [read: it still tastes like Franzia, so whatever] and I wanted wine with dinner).

I don't feel like a grown-up. I still feel like I'm 17, usually. I was a pretty with-it seventeen-year-old, I guess, so that's not as crappy as it sounds. I started college at 17, I worked three part-time jobs, I had a packed social life. When I look back over my life, that's the age I most readily feel matches who I am inside.

Today I hung out with a friend I hadn't seen in a few months. We met at the Barnes and Noble in our local mall, and she wanted to check out t-shirts for a St. Patrick's day party she's going to. At one point, she said, "These are the kinds of nonsense things I worry about. You're responsible for the care and nurturing of a human being. That's crazy."

I don't know. I have a grown-up job, and the job I had before this one was a grown-up job too. I no longer need to work a shitty part-time job to fill in the gaps. I contribute to my 401(k). I live within my means. I own a house. I have two dogs and, like, six houseplants (and I haven't killed a houseplant in about four years). I have a really solid marriage to a person whose company I genuinely enjoy. I have healthy relationships with family and friends. But inside I often still feel like the person who waits just a little past gross to clean the bathroom, or who worries about every single meeting at work, or who picks her nose while driving, or who eats Cocoa Puffs for breakfast, is the real me.

What age do you feel like? Really, please, comment and tell me, because I'm genuinely curious about where other people stand on this one.


  1. I am 28 yrs old....but still feel like I am 17. I graduated at 17, I married at 17, I gotten ant at 17, I went to college at 17....and I still feel like that same person but am just better at playing house now.

  2. Lol, that part that makes no sense is supposed to say that I got pregnant at 17

  3. This realization astounded me the first time I had it - and made me able to be a lot more forgiving to the general populace (as well as specific people). I think we consider others' adult behaviors to be the areas we feel we lack: full fridge, child rearing, home ownership or non-hazmat required home... whatever it is.

    But I forget ALL THE TIME and think that somehow I missed the memo for how to be an adult. I think that I'm like, 23 but a 23 year old who acts 65. It's going to suck being an undergrad next year. :D

  4. I'm really surprised that someone else identifies with 17 too! And yeah, Jenny, I get you about that filter through which we see other people, too. I think it's fascinating that we're all just muddling along as we can.