Single Girls GuideGrow the Eff Up – Plus, the Single Girls Guide live chat TONIGHT!Erin Foster

Okay, we talk a lot about getting older and secretly being willing to cut any ho who gets in the way of your happily ever after. Like, you will take her down. Because all you want is to complete the circle, complain about how much your back hurts while you’re pregnant, roll your eyes at your husband in front of your friends, use a condescending tone when talking to your poor little single friends who are headed out to yet another bar looking for something to fill that void that you already filled. So so sad.

Anyway, most of you are just dying to live it up in a two bedroom house on Main St. You’re the ones who have a little bit of your mom in you. You’re still holding on to tradition and listening to all the domestic alarm bells going off. But there is also a different breed of women who have their own set of problems. They are the girls who don’t want to grow up. Now, I’m not gonna name names, but I have a girlfriend who is resisting being an adult so much, she owns a pair of those kids’ shoes with the wheels on the bottom that were really popular a few years ago. She just rolls around her house pretending she’s seven.

It used to be that a girl would go straight from living with her parents to living with her husband, and that’s when adult status kicked in. Since she was probably about eighteen years old, it was a decent time to get to know your way around a house and all the things that come along with keeping one together. Nowadays, we’re getting married ten to fifteen years later and a lot of girls still feel like they’ll start being an adult when they’re married – but they’re not carding you when you buy a bottle of wine and you still don’t know how to send in a rebate or iron a shirt.

I have a bit of this girl in me. I don’t know how to cook. Like, I don’t know how to make anything. I don’t have that go-to dish I can whip up when I need to prove myself. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I don’t remember when it switched over from me thinking it was cute to say I didn’t know how to do anything to it just being embarrassing and everything that is the opposite of cute.   I always said I didn’t want to cook by myself, that I didn’t have anyone to cook for and I’d learn once I did. But I have this full life with tons of people in it and I go to dinner parties and game nights and celebrations and I don’t have squat to contribute (food wise – I kill it in the charm category). The point is, what are we waiting for? It was time to grow up a while ago.

Sometimes I feel like Winona Ryder in Great Balls Of Fire when she’s forced to move in with her husband/cousin and all she wants to do is hold on to her mom’s leg. Now, in her defense she was thirteen and me comparing myself to her is pretty sad, but I’m just being honest and I thought this was a safe place.

I think when we’re teenagers we have this shtick we do that’s all, “Shut up, I’ll do the opposite of what I’m supposed to. Just let me love Jordan Catalano and eat cereal three times a day.” And we assume we’ll grow out of it once we become an official adult. So, when is that? When we’re married? When we have a kid? When we’re thirty? Because I’m not married and I don’t have any kids. I’m holding onto being twenty nine by the fingernails and I know for sure I am completely immersed in adulthood. If I don’t pay a bill, no one else deals with it. Actually, a lovely lady from a collection agency calls and then I say that I’ve been out of town for months because I’m ashamed to admit that I just didn’t deal with it. Not cute. Its like hipsters thinking its chic to look dirty. You don’t look like your band’s music is good, you look like you need a shower and a job ASAP.

Life moves forward whether we’re ready for it or not and whenever we try to resist it, we lose. It’s the same sickness as women who get plastic surgery to turn their face upside down because they think it fools people into thinking they’re younger. But it just makes them look older. We have to learn to embrace the pace life is moving at, because acting like a kid wont turn you back into one. It will just make it harder when you finally realize you have to get on board. And when you get there everyone will be like, “Finally! We’ve all been laughing at you.”

I just want to say that I feel like the movie Young Adult is probably about this topic, and while maybe the trailer has subliminally inspired me, I actually haven’t even seen it and don’t fully know what its about.

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  1. I wish more people were willing to talk about these types of feelings. So grateful that feeling/acting 17 (when you’ve lived almost twice as long) is accepted at HG.

  2. You Killllllled this in the charm category!!

  3. This is great! I’ve come to the realization that it’s so NOT cute not to know how to do anything…over 20, it makes us look kind of helpless. Plus being able to do things, have a signature drink or dish is so charming! We complain a lot about how guys need to grow up, but I can think of a lot of women who do too!

  4. I was found this article to be whiny and very judgmental. First off…everyone has their own perspective of what adulthood is…of course fiscal responsibility and health are a given of what should be priorities. Duh. Secondly…so what if people dress young or like surgery, there body. Everyone should have the freedom to dress and look the way they want without being classified as an irresponsible Peter Pan Syndrome Sufferer. Thirdly…whats wrong with dirty hipsters…what we do to you? Hee hee! Seriously though…. having a narrow defined vision of what an adult should look like and live is how people never adapt and change to make things better for everyone. This article just seemed like a big rant…not very giggly .

  5. lol! Funny article. In my opinion, I think we all grow up at our own pace. Some people grow up too quickly, some too slowly…who cares and who are we to judge others – I still don’t make my bed in the morning and I’m 30! (importantly, I do this to spite my mother-in-law. It’s the only real fault she can find…one would think she would see this as a positive?)

  6. Sometimes you just read the right stuff at the right time, and it’s like the writter/blogger just gets you. I liked the post.

  7. Completely agree! The difference between child-like and childish has been lost in translation in my generation. I’ve written about my own struggles with adulthood here on the site, but I hope no one would confuse my self-deprecating jokes with thinking that I really believe that acting like a child is okay. Having a childlike quality is endearing and welcoming; having a childish quality is a big turn-off. Everyone matures at their own pace and in their own way but I would hope that I’m on the track to becoming a mature, useful, but fun citizen of this world.

    Becca Sands | 12/28/2011 03:12 pm
  8. I am both old (32) and saw the movie (advanced in LA). Yep, the movie is about a woman who at 36 still hasn’t embraced an adult mentality…but also the fact that she has severe alcoholic and depression issues! Pretty dark!

    Everyone is different…I think the fact that you are out on your own supporting yourself instead of living at home with the parents and having them pay for everything is adult-enough…I think the rest (cooking, paying bills on time, etc) comes when it comes…and sometimes it never comes or it comes in waves. I’m not married and have no kids, but I think it’s somewhat safe to assume that once you have a husband and/or kids, they are just a little more motivation to get your stuff together.

  9. Young Adult was possibly the most depressing movie I’ve ever seen.

  10. There’s a difference between being childlike and being immature. I think what the author’s warning against is immaturity. The roller skate shoes might not be the best example (I always wanted a pair of those, by the way), but maybe said roller-skating friend is immature in other ways–maybe when she’s upset with someone, she gives them the cold shoulder, or maybe her outgoing voicemail message is the same one she recorded in 9th grade that says something completely random about mokeys (mine did).

    And in fact, I think the example in the beginning of the post, “all you want is to complete the circle, complain about how much your back hurts while you’re pregnant, roll your eyes at your husband in front of your friends, use a condescending tone when talking to your poor little single friends who are headed out to yet another bar looking for something to fill that void that you already filled” represents another kind of immaturity. And that was quite intentional on the author’s part.

    I’m sort of in this weird area of growing up myself–I just graduated from college, I’m still living at home, and I’m now having to look for jobs so I can save up for a car, moving out, etc. I’m still very childlike in many ways, and I don’t ever want to forget what childhood was like. Those who remember what it’s like to be a kid make the best parents and teachers. However, I do still have friends, both in and out of college, who brag about all the ways they’re still really immature, and sometimes I laugh (they still watch Saturday morning cartoons) and sometimes I roll my eyes (the aforementioned voicemail problem).

    I don’t think the author was saying to forget childhood. I think what she was saying is don’t let it get in the way of the things you do have to do. Growing up and maturity involve taking responsibility, as many of you commenters have said, and that includes taking responsibility for how you respond to people and make them feel. Sometimes it’s more a matter of presentation and tone of voice than anything else. If the 25-year-old waitress at a restaurant is living by herself, holding down three jobs, taking care of a toddler, and paying off credit card debt, sure, that’s a ton of responsibility and I applaud her for it. But if she takes my order in a tone that sounds more like a bored 13-year-old, I’m not even going to think she might have all that responsiblity at home and yes, in my head, I’m going to want to tell her to “grow up.”

  11. i want those skates!

  12. while i hope to never grow up completely, i also agree that it is important to know how to do things. if you are adult and you are incapable of being self-sufficient, than i just feel sorry for you. and in the event of an apocalypse or zombie invasion, you will be useless. i think it is important to be able to completely take care of yourself, but without ever losing a childlike enthusiasm for everything around you.

  13. go see young adult. so good.

  14. Let’s take cooking classes because I’m such a wreck in my kitchen that I don’t even try…

  15. young adult is totally opposite of this article lol. i saw it friday. i recommend it though!!

    i’m 23 and in no rush whatsoever to grow up. i don’t want kids, i don’t want a boyfriend, i don’t want a husband. if i could find some rolly shoes, i’d be all over them like white on rice. i live on my own and pay my own bills, but i am no where near ready to fully grow up. i haven’t experienced my full youth yet and i’m not ready to throw that all away with having a kid of a husband. just another thing to stop me from doing all that i want.
    i have a laundry list of things i want to accomplish before i have kids and get married. plus the thought of having a husband and child terrifies me more than seeing people wearing brown and green together.

  16. I totally agree with this. We aren’t 20 anymore people. Take pride in being an adult! Send out your own Christmas cards. Host parties. Remember birthdays. Actually keep track of where last year’s W-2 is saved. Clean your bathroom. Embrace being a good adult. What some people consider “not conforming to societies expectations” can often come across as a 28-year-old slopopotamus.

  17. Thanks Erin, and pats for the comments up top girls, good points, a bit lengthy. *Sigh* Its a sad day when someone asks what you’d like to bring to the party, but they’ve already scribbled your name next to forks/condiments, because you’re the late twenty-something that “doesn’t cook”. At least they let me pretend I might make a dish, next time I will. Time for me to grow up.

    Anonymous | 12/28/2011 08:12 am
  18. I very rarely feel my age. In fact, sometimes when asked “How old are you?” I tend to answer “technically 27, but today I’m 7.” But what is that, anyway? feeling our age? or grown up? We all know, as the wise Aaliyah (she is missed) once sang, Age Ain’t Nothing But A number. I realized that the moments when I don’t feel my age are the moments when I am comparing myself to someone else who has the kids and the husband and the mortgage and all that. Well that is when I feel 7. But sometimes when I don’t “feel my age” I feel much older. I like to think that one is “grown up” when one is able to accept responsibility for one’s life and the choices in it. By responsibilities, I, of course, mean a lot more than just paying the bills. I had a married friend who would always tell me she never felt like a grown up and she thought it might occur when she was a mother, if she ever decided to be one. She was (or still is) narcissistic, insensitive, and “perfect” (nothing her is her fault. She made no mistakes, even with extra marital affairs, etc.) That’s what I mean about being responsible for one’s life. Being able to accept when we have made a mistake and correct it/apologize for it, is how I measure being grown up. I like to think I grow and have grown in this way as I get older.

    • I agree Yajaira but I also think that a lot of things have to do with what people experience in their life. I think the more tough decisions someone has to make in their life, the more they grow up, many even way before their time. But to me being grown up has never been a thing of age. And it still isn’t. I have met teenagers who were more grown up and mature than many so called “adults”. And I have met many grown up adults who still have this young heart and don’t bow to a certain “behaviour that is expected of them” (not talking the responsibility thing here).

  19. I think what the author was really trying to say mam above me who commented was that there are certain things in life that we need to get done/learn how to do for us to function well/normally in a society that really is constricting. I get your point on doing what you want, living life the way that you envisioned it, building your own doll house and setting up its own rules, but the truth of the matter is, we live in a society, there are certain standards and ideals that we have to live up to and we do need the society in order for us to survive.

    Living on your own rules on your own terms is really fun, but if you do really want to live in that lifestyle, then you should build your own community and set the rules (I am saying this with full respect miss. :)).

    What the author was pointing out, at least as I understand it, is that we (well girls in this article, but I do think it is applicable to us guys as well.) need to have somethings in our life down, mature in some aspects, live as adults who are capable of taking care of themselves and if the time comes wherein one must start a family, then be more responsible and mature in taking care of that unit and rearing the offspring to become healthy and responsible individuals.

    I am all for adventure, fun and doing weird kids stuff. My wallpaper for my timeline is freaking peter pan. But growing up and taking responsibilities for yourself and for others does not mean that you have to kill the kid inside of you or forget on how to have fun. Its just that, we do need to take the wheel and learn how to drive safely through life and bring ourselves or our family to that wonderful destination that we do need to accomplish. It does not mean that we can’t sing through the journey, play music, participate in weird car games, laugh and be merry for the whole trip, we just need to still go on with the journey and reach that destination. Cheers and happy holidays!

    • Hey Pio, see, I never really had to learn the hard way because I had to grow up when I moved out from home. Everything I have I worked for myself. I won’t bore anyone with details or a sob story about how my life has been shit because it hasn’t been. I’ve made mistakes, I learned from them, but my problem is I am grown up and also I am not.

      I wrote the further down by Lisa mentioned christmas cards before I even had my own apartment. I hosted parties, always remembered birthdays and not just those on my own calender but those on everyone else’s too. I cleaned my bathroom, and apartment and I cleaned a lot of other people’s bathrooms too. I am a good adult in all of that regard! I am a great cook, I took care of my dad’s funeral when my mom and everyone else in my family was unable when I had just turned 21. I took care this year of my mom when she was in coma. I am taking care of her right now while working 50 hours a week full time and a second job. I pay my bills on time. I am not a slopopotamus.

      But still, I don’t act my age! And I don’t see why anyone should. I am often wondering if others just assume too much. It is, however, way too easy to judge than to really look beyond.

      And yes, some things maybe have to be learned the hard way as far as certain personal goes in life go. But my personal “not conforming to societies expectations” has nothing to do with what has been listed here. And I think that’s maybe a reason why so many don’t really want to let go off at least part of their childhood and youth. Because it often seems to mean give it all up and become a serious robot that functions within a prevoiusly defined scheme and don’t stand out. I can understand how some people can be scared of that.

    • Hey Ms. Grit! Looks like you are like the girl from true grit, haha. Yeah maybe I was fortunate enough to grow up with my mom really encouraging me to go out there and be peter pan, maybe too much for my own good but im still thankful for it. See, I grew up with only my mom taking care of me and with no father figure she did let me do my own thing and have tons of friends, maybe it went overboard and got to a point where I got kicked out of the most respectable highschool here in our country, got into a rundown shitty nursing college and basically become a “floater” for quite sometime. I just passed all the licensure exams here and in the US, get a relatively easy sales job and just basically live as a kid still. I had to learn the hard way that yeah, having fun and not caring for anything is a good way of life, but I want something more. I looked around and realized that yeah, ive had tons of friends, no problems with relationships but realized that im not the family type guy whom other girls would settle with. My proverbial nail in my growing up coffin would be seeing that I would be a part of most of my friends’ wedding entourage, but I bring different dates everytime and the pictures dont lie. I started to question what is my plans, what do I really want in life, etc. That is when I realized that I wanted to go back to med school, pay for it through my savings and really chase my “kid dream” and really grow up and not settle for being my happy go lucky me anymore.

      im sorry if I sounded to self-centered in this reply of mine, its just that the subject of growing up and taking responsibility for your life and just grabbing the steering wheel just really have a special place in my heart. Now im just hoping that none of my friends see this lol.

    • I should have made my point a bit clearer, too. I wasn’t questioning the entire responsibility thing. That’s something my parents taught me early on that I cannot avoid it. Not that I would want to. It’s part of life. My point also wasn’t to say everyone should keep acting like a child and not take responsibility. My point was to say that society clearly seems to have expectations as to what certain people should be like. If both of you have never experienced that because the people around you have been tolerant and open enough, then I am truly happy for you but I for one and a lot of my friends have dealt with more than one “act your age/grow up” accusation thrown our way. Maybe accusation isn’t the right word but after a while it sure feels that way. Some people seem to think that even though you dress a certain way, like certain things, do certain things, surround yourself with certain people etc. you haven’t grown up. But if growing up means taking responsibility, dealing with every day adulthood things etc., then why does it still say “Grow up?”

      Please don’t get me wrong, my comments are in no way meant as offense to Pio or Jessica or the author of this article, it is just my personal opinion on this matter and things I have been thinking about because I have experienced differently or watched my friends struggle with certain things.

  20. I respectfully disagree. “getting on board” unfortunately is defined very clearly into two categories: DOs and DON’Ts. And clearly, the older you get, the longer the list of DON’Ts seems to become and this is, frankly, just bullshit. Why shouldn’t this friend rollerskate through her house? Why should we forget in our hearts what childhood and being young has been about? Why should we age in our minds and hearts only because our bodies do? Whenever I get the chance, I love to play a co-op computer game called Left 4 Dead. Now the list of DON’Ts clearly states that people over a certain age should not play video games. But I do have friends that I game with who are 50 years and older. They love gaming, they love computers, they love spending some of their time with friends who are younger than they are. So what is wrong about it? The fact that they do? Or the fact that for the most part our society thinks people should ACT a certain way once they turn 30,40,50,60 etc.

    What exactly does “act my age” mean anyway?
    I should act my age like an actor does? As in pretend to be something I am not?
    Or I should stop being me and turn into something other people expect me to be only because I am over 30 now?

    • It seems you kind of missed the point of this post, she’s not saying to let go of everything remotely childlike, she’s bringing responsibility to the forefront and telling people to grow up. Be responsible, cook, know the difference between whites and darks in the laundry. After your responsibilities are done, have fun. But adulthood means caring for yourself and others, and you can’t do that by acting like a child.