The only time I have ever been told to "grow up" has usually been after laughing at an obscene joke. Usually involving fecal matter of some kind. But recently the phenomenon of what it truly means to "grow up" has me dumbfounded.
Did I miss the Adulthood for Dingbats 101 course in college?
Us twenty-somethings have an obsession with the notion of growing up. It's an unknown medium for some of us. An unidentifiable sticky goo that we think might be peanut butter but we can't be sure. But why is it so hard to figure out for quasi-brain-damaged folks like myself?
It seems easy enough to understand on the surface:
- Get an education
- Get a job
- Make money
- Find someone to take care of you as you slowly decompose
- Have children to carry on your legacy and have all your stuff after you peace out to heaven
- Do something that makes the Earth less shitty
- Meet all the cool dead people in the afterlife
Sounds simple, yeah?
For some ludicrous reason, a lot of us think we could quite possibly die by 30. Just saying the word "thirty" makes me feel physically ill. And when I say things like that I get slapped in the face by my parents. Because they are like...old, old.
30 certainly isn't old and 23 is no ancient artifact. But when you think you are on the brink of adulthood, you start to panic about where your life could look at that point. Because up until now, life was fairly predictable (I mean brain injuries aside). I knew I would go to college. I knew what I could study and I could pick my roommates. I could find part-time employment at coffee shops and summer camps. It seemed like a steady course.
And then the real world slapped me in the face faster than my $40,000 dollar History diploma.
Yet I still managed to slip into what I like to call "Fake Adulthood." I moved back home with my parents for my unpaid internship and became completely reliant on my family. All indicators pointed to me being an adult by name but a child by trade.
I began to feel silly.
Even though I was busting my ass at my internship, I couldn't support myself financially. I had to ask for gas and food money and texted my parents when I couldn't be home for dinner. I started to compare myself to everyone else my age. They were living in big cities, with big people jobs and big people shitty apartments. They had successful relationships and were getting engaged, married, and were even trying to have kids. On purpose. I wanted to be a big person too. I just didn't know how.
I probably still don't. But I've come quite a ways since I first slipped into Fake Adulthood.
I am still busting my ass at my unpaid internship. But I now have a job lined up because I have worked so hard. I still live at home with my parents and dog, but I am now able to start looking at creepy Craigslist ads and plan to move out soon once a steady flow of real person income starts to flow my direction.
It might not look like a lot right now. But someday it will be something.
The twenties are a time for adventure, hard work, and scuffed kneecaps. Oh, and maybe a few brain surgeries. Gotta have some of those!