My So-Called Adulthood

A couple weeks ago, I sort of “reprimanded” two undergrad girls who were shadowing a surgeon in the OR. They were talking loudly about their weekend while I was putting a nervous patient to sleep. Feeling silly, but wanting peace and quiet for my patient, I said “Ladies, can you please take your conversation outside?”

Who am I? A nagging teacher? I immediately got nervous that they were going to fire back at me, like, “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? You’re our age!” Well I got no such response. They immediately apologized and were quiet. Um… Am I an adult authority figure?

Becoming an adult has been a long, slow process that flies by in retrospect. I find myself consistently surprised, disappointed, excited, confused and thrilled. All of this blends into an overall neutral feeling of, “Well hey, I’m just doing this life thing I guess.” With another birthday recently come and gone, I’ve been thinking about the biggest surprises and the most awesome things about becoming an adult. Sure, there are things that suck… But I try to turn those around or get past them as quickly as possible. I most certainly won’t dwell on them here, and they can’t be any worse than the things that sucked about being younger. The strangest thing is how I felt like an adult, or like I should be one, right up until I realized I had actually become one. Now I just feel like a really experienced 22-year-old or something.

Surprises about being an adult:

1. Awkward phases continue through adulthood. So do pimples. Ugh. Hair does get a little less frizzy, though.

2. You are really guessing at how to do things a lot of the time.

3. You don’t magically know the answers.

4. You still get your feelings hurt.

5. Sometimes your body hurts, for like, no reason.

6. You start to wake up early because you want to.

7. You find out that boring things really are interesting.

8. People are still looking for friends.

9. People are still really, really funny.

10. People start to look young really, really quickly. And they look really, really young.

11. You never feel old.

12. Gray hairs just sprout on up.

13. Nothing really feels like the end of the world anymore. At least not every week.

14. Staying in is heavenly. Going to bed at 10 on a Friday is luxurious.

15. You understand more jokes.

16. You don’t automatically understand politics.

17. You realize how human your parents are, and how clueless they were when they had you.

18. You really do have to take care of that bod.

19. You still cry. Maybe a lot.

20. You tend to wear the same amount of clothing all year round.

21. Halloween is even MORE fun; whether it be the parties or giving out candy to trick or treaters.

22. Younger people see you as an adult?!


Awesome things about being an adult:

1. You make your own choices, for the most part, and set your own goals.

2. You can get a pet.

3. Sarcasm increases linearly with age.

4. You can call in sick.

5. You can change up your style and no one is really monitoring it anymore.

6. You can have whatever you want for meals, whenever you want.

7. You can go to bed late.

8. You can have a glass of wine to relax – There is no need to binge drink.

9. People appreciate the things that make you different.

10. You can get back into cool hobbies… There are no uncool hobbies (except murder and stuff I guess… But hey, look at Dexter?).

11. Rest assured, everyone is sort of blindly forging their way, and you can help each other.

12. Feeling in control and responsible is actually pretty rewarding, eventually (trust the rebel that never wanted to settle down)!

13. Your parents become an entirely new source of wisdom, as they really do know what you were going through (even though they had NO IDEA in high school).

14. You finally understand what clothing works on your body, and you are comfortable with your style.

15. You learn to admire people instead of envy them.

16. You realize that you can do a lot of things, and that you are really quite strong.

17. You realize and appreciate the people who made you who you are.

18. You don’t really need to care about being popular – Relationships are all about quality, not quantity.

19. Your mom doesn’t hold a grudge for how you put her through hell in high school.

20. Your friendships are ridiculously strong, and remain strong despite getting together even as little as once every couple of months.

21. You feel much more secure in your skin, and place more value on that truly amazing personality and those years of experience and knowledge.

22. You can still totally be a kid and be youthful… But with advantages like money, the ability to drive, a place of your own, the ability to have a drink in an airport bar alone, the ability to go out to eat alone and the ability to make better choices.

So those are my reflections after a particularly adult-like past couple of months. I am realizing I am just an experienced, wise kid having a blast in this adult life. I enjoy life, and my responsibilities to myself and the people and things I care about. Does that sound boring and nerdy or what? Well, surprisingly it’s not. Not at all. Added bonus? Re-watching My So Called Life, I still relate 100% to Angela… And now I also relate 100% to her Mom. I might cover my grays with “Crimson Glow” and cut my hair short.

What do you all like about being an “adult”? Or about being a “kid”? What has surprised you?

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