The Ways In Which I am Slowly Becoming an Adult
I’ve always thought that adulthood sounded like some exotic destination that I’d never really get to like Fiji or the inside of Ryan Gosling’s bedroom but in reality I guess it’s been slowly creeping up on me for some time now. I thought perhaps it’d be like Publisher’s Clearing House where someone knocks on my door after I’ve put together a book shelf with real tools without crying or cooked myself a balanced dinner with all the food groups and I’d magically be handed a paper that says – “Congratulations – you are an adult. You are able to make mature decisions and can now be taken seriously”. I know now it doesn’t really happen this way but wouldn’t it be better if it did? I’d love if there was a checklist to maturity of things I need to do in order to feel like I both have my shit together and that others recognize it. You need to sign a lease for a new apartment? — no problem – just hand them your certificate of adulthood and sign away. If only.
Feel free to comment and add to the list but here is what I think I am doing and have done that really makes me feel like an adult these days:
1) Buying furniture for your house or apartment. This does not include bean bags or hammocks, because c’mon – as much as we’d all love to live in a fort – it’s not practical.
2) Having movers move said furniture into your apartment/house. Nothing says “I’m doing okay” like the ability to pay that extra $30 to have your shit delivered to your house instead of asking your dad or friends to help you move it.
3) Doing your own taxes. Seriously, I really felt like I was the most mature person in the world when I did this. It only happened for the first time three years ago and I still have my dad double check it but man did I feel moderately competent at life after I did it. Also, last year I filled out a foreign tax form AND checked my friends’ tax form. #adultfosho
4) Being able to kill vermin without crying/screaming/vomming. I can’t lie – I’m not all the way there with this but no longer living with other people is def. forcing me into being my own heroine as I rescue myself from stink bugs, spiders, and (shivers) cockroaches.
5) The ability to refuse taking shots and to avoid certain types of alcohol. When I was 21-26 I had a hard time saying no – even when I know it would hurt, it always hurt so good. But once you’ve vomsploded so violently on New Years Day that you had to wear sunglasses to New Years Dinner (which your grandma was attending) and had to lie about said sunglasses (I’m sure everyone believed I “scratched my eye”) you’re hitting a bottom. There are many more stories of me and shots and alcohol types that make me behave badly (*cough* – tequila) – but my mom and dad read this blog so we don’t really need to get into it here do we?
Anyway, I think the ability to say “no” in any situation (not just booze related) is a major step in being an adult. It says you know your limits and you aren’t afraid to stand up for yourself and that is badass and adult. I’ve always admired people who can just say “No, I don’t want to do that” without giving excuses, mostly because I am not that person. To this day when I don’t want to do something for whatever reason I feel the need to give 3 reasons why I don’t want to or can’t do it. It’s terrible and I blame my guilty Catholic conscience (Thanks a lot God!).
6) Being able to be alone and live alone. Yes, this is a bit of a depressing one but a good indicator of adulthoodness I think. Last year in Japan marked the first time I have lived alone without friends or family. It was hard at first. If there were dishes in the sink they were clearly mine – same goes for hair in the drain, a disgusting bathroom, and expired food in the refrigerator.
Being able to live alone makes you accountable for all of your shit and being able to balance cleaning, cooking, and entertaining yourself is super hard. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it but I find I am doing okay. There are days when I’m lonely but then I go to the kitchen (sometimes pantsless – one day I will write about the joys of being alone in one’s apartment pantless) and start cooking a well balanced meal like a real adult which I usually narrate with Julia Child’s voice. Disclaimer: I never said living alone doesn’t make you a little nuts.
7) Being financially responsible. This is the pits. Do I need to say more? Paying your Bills, Bills, Bills like a Destiny’s Child song is the worst, but it’s necessary because you can’t flee the country and live off of the grid for the rest of your life no matter how much paying students loans makes you want to die inside. Paying the bills sucks. It’s part of being an adult and it’s horrible. Not everything on this list is great you know.
8) I will follow paying the bills with something awesome. Traveling. Or shopping. Or whatever it is your real world job affords you to be able to do that you love. Yes, being a student rules, but being broke sucks balls. Being an adult means you are making money and maybe you have enough dough to save or put aside to do some cool shit. Did I mention I just got scuba certified in Malaysia over Christmas? I did? Well, see, — being an adult fucking rules!
Look at me, I’m killing it and that is only 8 things on the checklist that I have done toward my girl scout badge of maturity. I’d probably also add being a good friend, a good listener and a good family member is probably on that list….sort of like not being a selfish asshole, but I feel like that is sort of a given and not just for adults but for all humans. Anyway, I think I am doing a pretty good job of acting like a grown up but before I go to the front of the auditorium to get my Big Kid diploma I have some confessions, which brings us to the next portion of this blog.
Reasons Why Being a Grown Up is my Everest (aka – a basically impossible and deadly climb)
1) As you can see from the above title of this section I might be a little bit dramatic. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of my dramatic and hyperbolic reactions to things, it can’t be helped. I recognize when I am being ridiculous but it doesn’t mean I am actively trying to stop being this way. And not trying to change or improve my flaws means I am not really there yet on the maturity spectrum. I’m over it. (yea, a real mature answer, I know).
2) My Amazon Shopping Cart. I could probably put online shopping in here in general because it’s something that stops me from doing my responsible household duties and instead has me surfing the internet for hours putting things in virtual shopping carts that I don’t really need. Things in my current Amazon Shopping Cart include: A) An iPad case (very responsible choice – I like to take care of things) B) A bathtub crayon that isn’t going to leave marks all over my body like the last one did C) Various records for my new record player D) Lego Set – Hogwarts Castle – I mostly keep it there because a girl can dream. Oh god, this was embarrassing to write. Japan is really cold in the winter and doesn’t believe in central heating so I take a lot of baths to warm up. I couldn’t find a Walkmen to play a tape of Prince’s “Kiss” like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman so I went with toys. I don’t regret this decision. I have a basketball set, boats and a crayon that leaves unfortunate stains on me when I write with the red or purple colors. As far as the Lego set goes – my joy for Lego was rekindled two years ago when I was a nanny for a week for one of my favorite co-workers. I spent a snow day with the kids building Lego sets and it was oddly the most satisfying thing I had done that week (including anything job related). Legos give me a tangible sense of accomplishment I don’t get from much anywhere else.
3) I like to talk in voices – If we are pretty good friends then you have probably witnessed or participated in the talking in voices/being characters. It can’t be helped. I LOVE talking in voices and taking on characters. When I go on vacation with my best friends there is chance that there might be a whole day dedicated to talking in voices or being characters. Why? Because we are 12 and it’s awesome to make up a back story and then go out in public and be ridiculous. My best friend and I have had entire conversations mostly conducted by using the word “Meow” (I know it’s sounds weird, but I think it might be hilarious and slightly endearing – no?).
4) Photo shoots and fake mustaches/costumes – One time on the way to Disney World (yes, two grown ass women went to Disney) with my best friend we almost missed our exit because I was laying down beats and she was freestyle rapping as disco played in the background. I have a collection of fake mustaches. I save ugly sweaters and shirts in hopes that one day there will be a costume party where I can bust it out. I love costumes and Halloween more than the average seven year old. Last time I was with all of my best friends at once we had a photo shoot that was deemed too embarrassing to post on facebook. Our best gay played the photographer and used phrases like “Work your angles”. I brought fake tattoos to this gathering and we spent a good half hour deciding what to use and where to put them and what it means.
5) Inappropriate Conversations About Fictional Characters – Last year one of my best friends visited me in Japan and our conversation turned to Harry Potter. We have pretty much sorted everyone we knew into houses on another trip but then we started sorting my friends she had met that week. We then moved to a conversation where we speculated on the sex lives of the Hogwarts students and staff (totally inappropriate). But I mean, there were hundreds of teenagers in Hogwarts Castle and you want to tell me that NO ONE was doing it? Dream on. Pansy Parkinson was a total ho. She was the village bicycle of Slytherin House. And Lavender Brown? Total rebound hook-up with Ernie McMillan after Ron dumped her ass. This naturally led to a conversation on whether or not Madam Pomfrey ever performed magical abortions. What is wrong with us? I say nothing, but you may think just a little less of me after reading this section, and I think I am okay with that.
6) I talk to my mom…a LOT! Okay, so I guess this is kind of sweet now since I am 6000 miles away but I can’t lie, I talk to my mom an ungodly amount of time. After college when I was working in a job I hated and ate lunch alone (oooh, so sad like Cady in Mean Girls) I used to call my mom and talk to her about my shitty day. She listened to me and told me about her day and what was going on and it was a mundane conversation that still made my day better. Then there were the 2 years that I lived with my “roommates” Jim and Peg Beddall when I moved home to figure out my life. I would go on walks every night with my mom, eat most meals with her and then watch our programs together. I would even take her out to dinner on Fridays when my pops was reffing b-ball and we would talk some more.
My mom has heard every random thought in my head like “I think I want to be a children’s librarian” or “I am applying for a Fulbright to teach in Nepal” and not once has she said “Erin, stop talking – you are ridiculous”. And I love her for it. I’m not sure if this falls into the category of not making me an adult or not but if daily talks with my mom (okay, now more like 3 times a week since I’m so far away) make me a baby then I will NEVER be an adult.
7) I am obsessed with pop culture, trashy magazines, celebrity gossip and am way too involved with my tv shows, books, and favorite movies. I recently spent an hour youtubing videos of Jennifer Lawrence interviews because she is hilarious. I also spent an embarrassing amount of time looking at pictures of Ryan Gosling and trying to figure out if Jon Snow and Ygritte from Game of Thrones on HBO are dating. A real adult with actual responsibilities would never waste their time on this shit.
I am sure can add to both of these lists for a VERY long time but I’ve already taken up so much of your sweet and precious adult time that you could have used to work on a budget or pay online bills or something so I won’t bother you anymore. The good thing is that being in Japan has definitely placed me more in the “real adult” column than in the “baby adult” column despite some drinking and crashing on people’s floors. Again, I’d love to see your “Adult Checklist”. Sidenote: You must be at least 24 to submit an answer because if you are younger than that then you haven’t had time to be a “real adult” yet unless you’re that chick who ‘From Homeless to Harvard’ was based on. Seriously, not having enough money to buy good beer or wine not in a box means you can’t answer this.
*This post was taken and edited and updated from a personal blog I wrote last year to my friends and family while I was living in Japan. I wrote a blog every week last year chronicling this adventure and will be trying to post all of the old blogs/e-mails on another blog page soon!
What I’m Reading
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – It’s non-fiction and it’s beautiful. A book about a mother and son and how their love of books and reading brought them even closer together in the mother’s last months battling stage 4 cancer. I fell asleep last night with tears in my eyes and I am only halfway done.
What I’m Watching – Beyonce’s Superbowl halftime show — over and over. So fierce that I actually yelled at my computer “Fucking strut” when she got onstage. Also, under Brem and my sister’s recommendation I am watching Shameless and delighting in it’s trashiness.
What I’m Listening to: Tame Impala – Lonerism. A sort of psychaedelic surfer sound to the album that I am enjoying. It’s not rocking out music but rather just nice background music while I am cleaning or driving.