Everyday Life

On Adulting

Adult: to no longer be a student; someone over the age of 23; someone who is financially indepedent

At least, that is my definition of being an adult. Many have their own definitions and there is, obviously, a dictionary definition. The law says I’m an adult at 18, but I truly beg to differ. I’m not sure about everyone else in the general population, but sometimes it seems like I am not a real adult. Although I am two out of three of those things (I am a 25 year old college graduate), I was more independent when I was in college than when I graduated from college. Right now, I live at home. I have two part time jobs what pay almost nothing. I pay my loans, I pay my phone bill, but that’s about it. I’m still very dependent on my mother.

I can make all sorts of excuses for why that is still the case, but I won’t. The fact is: I am a 25 year old that lives with her mom and barely has a real job. In gneral, this isn’t a great thing. Luckily, I have a very understanding mother who loves me very much. It’s great, especially now that I am applying for law school.

Why would I even think of this? Adulting is usually the last thing on my mind.

Two reasons. One of them is that I’ve been working in the main branch of my law office lately. Over there, everyone is very serious and they get their work done–not that we don’t do the same in my office, but we know how to have fun too. I’m sure the ladies of the main branch have fun too, but only after the work is done. Anyway, I have been filling in as the receptionist in the main branch, which is a downgrade to what I usually do in my usual office. Since it is a downgrade, I finish the work in decent time and end up sitting at the desk twiddling my fingers, waiting for more work or for someone to come into the office. Most times, I’ll go to the ladies and ask if they need help… they don’t.

Except that they do, but they don’t want to assign the work to me. That’s fine because I don’t want to mess up something serious.

And THAT exact thought is how I ended up asking myself “What kind of adult are you? You’re not an adult! You’re a small child that was born in the 80s. You have no responsibilities!” There are people my age handling these massive accounts in imports, doing serious data analysis, and I’m sitting in a receptionist desk, barely entrusted to answer phones. These friends that are handling accounts and analyzing data–they’re younger than me. So, where did I go wrong?

Another reason I’m thinking about this is because I have two friends that have turned a year older this year. One of them is turing 25 and she is totally high on life. She has gotten her dream job and is pretty much full course forward in her career. The other is turning 27 and she and I are in the same boat. The “what am I doing? I’m amounting to nothing. I think I’m failing at life” type of boat. The type of boat where we wonder if we’re actually people, let alone this “adult” thing.

Dear Friend, WE ARE NOT FAILING AT LIFE. We are just people. Age is really just a number. And, after much reflection while twiddling my thumbs at the receptionist desk, I have determined that being an adult is overrated in my book. You can’t assign a number and small-picture goals to when you should be an adult. It is more than just having money or having a full time job or being debt free, etc., etc. It is actually being content with the things you’ve done and comfortable with the person that you’ve become. It takes years, and for some it takes more time than others. Right now, we are doing the best we can with what we got. We’re not there yet, but that doesn’t mean we’ll never be real adults who have it together.

To be honest, I am nowhere near where I thought I would be at this age. I’m trying to find it in me to be upset about this–because that’s how most people change. People see themselves and think “wow, I need to change” and then they proceed to do so. However, I’m being strangely accepting. It’s freaking me out, but I think I know why.

I’m not sure about my friend, but, for me, this has been a learning experience. For example, I have learned that I am not a part-time student and that gap years suck. Adulting is great and all for the people that are, but being a small child that was born in the 80s and currently resides in the body of someone that’s “25” has its merits too. You can’t get bogged down in the number, you have to focus on all the years that are still ahead of you.

It’s fine and dandy for everyone else to be fully independent and living on their own with their big important jobs. I’m not like everyone else. I’ve made too many mistakes in the past by rushing into things. Right now, I have never been more sure of myself. I want to go to law school. I need a part time job because a full time job consumes me. I wish I was a little more financially independent, but I am about to spent a whole bunch’a money on these law school applications, so not having expenses like rent and groceries, is really helping.

If there is a takeaway moral of this story: the concept of being an adult is complete crap. There might be a dictionary definition, you may have your own definition, but you can take that definition and put it in the back of the topmost shelf of your bookcase because, honestly, you don’t need it. There is a pressure to be an adult as soon as you graduate from college, which can be detrimental. Some people can hop right into financial independence and full time employment with no problems, but others might have to go at a different pace. Others might need more schooling, or change their mind on their chosen career path. Just because you’re over a certain age doesn’t mean that you have to be an adult with your life put together. You shouldn’t feel ashamed because you’re still in school or because you’re only a part-time worker or because you still heavily rely on your parents. You got your own story.

-M

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