I’m 26 years old. I’m a college graduate. I have a full-time job. I live on my own (well, with my sister—so, close enough). I pay my own bills. My car insurance has gotten cheaper. I buy wine by the bottle instead of in a box. X + Y + Z… = I’m a grown-up. Right?
Well, I sure as Hell don’t feel like a grown-up. Like, at all.
I look at my older brother—married, with two children—and the word grown-up seems applicable. Then again, I’ve considered him a grown-up ever since he left the house for college. He’s older, i.e. he’ll always be more grown-up than me. Whereas, when I left for college? Um, no. Not even close (I just laughed out loud, as I’m sure my college friends will, too).
Of course, my brother does have six years on me. I had just finished 6th grade when he graduated from high school. To my 11-year-old self, 18 seemed so far away that of course I’d be all responsible and mature and grown-up by then. Because, duh! 18 sounded was so old. Also when I was 11, I spent my weekends rolling friends’ houses with toilet paper and dragging park benches into their yards for shits and giggles. Different perspective, I guess.
Right now, it seems most of my friends around me are married or well on their way to becoming so—though I think that has a lot to do with the fact I live in the South and people tend to get married fairly young down here. The calls I’m getting now from friends who are announcing their pregnancies are no longer met with an “Oops” or an “Oh, shit, what happened?” Why? Because these crazy people are actually getting pregnant on purpose. If that doesn’t say grown-up…
I’m not saying I have to be married or pop out a few kids to be considered a grown-up. If that’s the case—due to my recent stance on having children—I’m never going to get there. It’s just that right now, where I am in my life, I don’t feel grown-up. I’m still young. I’m still figuring things out. When I’m sick, I still need my mom to come over with popsicles and ginger ale and warm chicken noodle soup. Seriously. My sister got sick this week and it was rather late when she decided she wanted to go to the doctor, which was, of course, way past regular doctor office hours. So, where to? Emergency Room? Minor medical center? Um…we called our mom.
I don’t think there’s a magic formula for growing up. I don’t think there will be a defining moment that will make me stop and say, “I just became a grown-up.” Like I said, by most people’s standards, I’m still young. I know I still have a lot of growing up left to do, but at least I think I’m on my way.
Last month, my sister and I hosted dinner at our house for our parents, one of our aunts and one of our uncles. We cooked a proper meal. We opened finished a few bottles of wine. And as I sat there at our dining room table, I thought to myself, “This is totally what grown-ups do.”
Then, a few days later, I was stuck at the kids’ table again for Thanksgiving.
– lindsey archer