Pay No Attention to the Crazy Pre-menstrual Girl

In 48 days I’m going to turn 32 years old. When my mother was this age, she had been married for 11 years, was taking care of a 10 year old and a 6 year old, and working full time. (I know – it blows my mind too!) I, on the other hand, am freaked out about suddenly living with a roommate in 2 weeks, can barely take care of my two cats, and stay out late on weeknights. And here’s what I’m wondering…at what point does one feel like an adult? Because I gotta tell ya, in my almost-32 years I have never felt like a proper grown-up. I have a grown-up job (with a 401k and everything!), I pay my own bills, I’ve traveled all over the world, I’ve even had a couple of serious relationships, and still adulthood is elusive.

Is it some tangible thing that suddenly makes one feel grown-up? Marriage? Mortgage? Offspring? Divorce? Or is it something more nebulous like a sense of responsibility or an acknowledgement of one’s own mortality?

Popular culture characters like Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw have elevated the status of the care-free, irresponsible single gal to that of art. And I am not above embracing that art. Spending freely on frivolity, enjoying a full and varied social calendar, demanding as much “me” time as I want, and shirking obligatory duties – yes, I am genuinely and unabashedly selfish. So maybe adulthood comes with selflessness. And in that case, I may NEVER grow up.

Despite this, I like my relatively un-adult-like existence. Of course, that could be only because I have no basis for comparison, but I don’t find myself yearning for any other kind of life (well, unless of course that life included me being independently filthy rich!). What if adulthood is a myth? Maybe we all just go through life as over-sized children, with no one ever feeling much like an adult, but some pretending to be grown-up. And further, pretending to actually like it.

Peter Pan Syndrome is not a behavioral disorder, it’s a lifestyle choice!


Gibbarella said...

I think you are on to something with the never becoming adults. I think it is a childhood fantasy that never gets fulfilled because as soon as you find out that being an adult sucks, all you want to do is turn back the clock and be a kid again. So it is a never ending battle. You only become an adult so you can watch R rated movies and drink because if you were still considered a kid you couldnt do that.

boty said...

hmm...R rated movies...sorry doesn't apply to the Johnson girls. Censorship was not the parental units cup of tea.

Drinking was never really an issue either. There's a wonderful little thing called charm...and if that fails, a fake i.d. works pretty well.

Besides that, she isn't trying to 'turn the clock back'....the point is that she simply doesn't FEEL like an adult. Not that she is an adult and wants her childhood DUR!!

I feel you Cafra...but I think it's a good thing. We don't wear 'mom jeans', don't have any children (than k the maker), no divorce baggage, detached and aloof we are, detached and aloof I hope we shall stay!

boty said...

lots of typos...keyboard is still sticky and 1/2 broken from the ferret /beverage mishap! But I'm sure you get the bulk of it.

MUM said...

i used to think, if i could turn back the clock but know what i know now. however, i now believe that half the "fun" of growing up is the living, learning, and growing. i think it doesn't much matter if you "feel" like an adult as long as you do what you like, with people you like, the best you know how and remain positive about the future. it includes doing what you have to do so you can do what you want to do (cliche) Cathryn, I always thought you are an old spirit and have been "adult like" since the day you were born. so just enjoy what you have, who you are on any given day, and plan and dream and work for a terrific future I think being an adult simply means being accountable and responsible for your own actions, learning from your mistakes, and moving forward hopefully becoming a better person, and hopefully understanding the bigger picture of why you are here. those are some things that take most people a near lifetime to accomplish and some people never get it. geez, that's not tooo deep. Boty, i do not wear "mom jeans" well, maybe sometimes but that's because i am beginning to fully understand that part of my roll here on this earth includes "mom jeans" on rare occassions.

boty said...

MUM!!! You DO NOT wear 'mom jeans'!!! Yes you are a Mum, and yes you wear jeans, but we would never let you wear 'mom jeans'...plus all of the women in our family are far too fashionable to fall into such horrific pant like horrors...we're just cool like that ;-)

Alison said...

That's funny, I was also going to comment that you've seemed "adult-like" for as long as I've known you (though I can only vouch for age 18 forward, not birth). Maybe you missed the memo! You are your own brand of adult... one who knows how to have fun, but also when to cut the crap and get stuff done.

MUM said...

Alison, very well said !!

Anonymous said...

Hey, roommie (can I still use that title now that you're living with a BOY?)--I loved this posting and felt like I could identify. Do you really want to feel like an adult? I guess I associate that with feeling weighed down. Maybe it's not all that we think it is. The times I feel happiest are when I feel like I have all these possibilities in front of me and all the time in the world to choose, so the opposite of weighed down, I suppose.

I agree with Alison in that I've also thought you represented the best kind of adult--the one who takes on challenges and neat experiences without getting stuck into some kind of "expected to" rut, i.e. 'expected to...be married at age X; expected to...settle down by age Y...' and so on. Even today I see all these people who freak out because they're in their 20s and don't have everything figured out and settled yet. Who wants to be settled?

In the end, fifty years from now when you're writing your autobiography, do you want to remember all the times you felt mature and adult-like, or do you want to remember the mishaps, adventures, and travels?

cathryn said...

You can still call me roomie if I can still call you...budde. heh :) It never gets old!

Jennifer said...

Take it from me....becoming an "adult" is way over-rated...esp when it's realizing you're married to a cheating schmuk and have to start life over at 32!! I envy ya!

Jennifer said...

I burst out laughing when I was reading a magazine and saw this...thought I'd share with you!!

According to Redbook, "you know you're a grown-up when..."

...you're able to say no, no, no! to those truly adorable platform wedge sling-backs because you're saving up for the trip to Paris you've always dreamed of.

...the checker at the grocery store calls you "ma'am" and you don't plummet into a monthlong depression (I HATE when they do that and it still makes me depressed)

...you say "I know Mom means well" - and you really mean it.

...waffles become your dinner of choice now and then - not because there's nothing else in the house to eat but just because you like them.

...you figure out that Prince Charming lives in the same universe as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. (isn't that the truth!!)

...you also realize that not all the "good ones" are married or gay (really??)

...a normally even-tempered friend flies off the handle at you, and rather than snarling back, you wonder if there's something going on with her

...your primary feeling toward Britney is one of pity

...you suddenly get why your father complained so much about taxes (I hear that one!)

...you feel no compulsion to adopt the current sizzling-hot (and really stupid-looking) fashion trend; you know that, like a mild rash, it'll soon go away on it's own

...the idea of staying in is just as appealing as the idea of going out (but is this a problem if you NEVER want to go out anymore?)

...you decide to learn how to a) play the guitar, b) speak Italian, and c) scuba dive, for no other reason than your own desire (uh-oh, Cathryn...religion and French classes...sounds like you're getting adult-like!!)

...rocking out along with the radio no longer embarrasses you. In fact, you turn it up

...the proverb "Life is short, but wide" starts to make sense