I contribute to a mortgage. I plan vacations to visit long-distance friends. I live with my partner, where we have flower beds, kitties, and chores to do.
I wish I could contribute more to our mortgage. These vacations are becoming far less frequent as I try to save more and spend less. We killed our garden last year. Sometimes I forget to scoop the kitty litter. And I hate chores. And sometimes pout when I have to do my part.
I have a full-time job where 11 tiny people count on me, and 6 co-workers that do, too. After working an 8 hour day, I schedule 3-mile runs, socializing, and amazing meals that I love to show off.
My job is exhausting and sometimes I envy those that seem to always be on vacation, always seem to be relaxing, and can still stay out late on weeknights without having to pay for it the next day. Those tiny people are demanding, and have made me realize I will never be a parent. I skip my runs more often that I like to admit. A lot of evenings I’d rather be watching Netflix on my couch than anything else. Tonight, I made Trader Joe’s boxed macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for dinner.
I pay my bills on time!
Most of the time.
I started a book club!
With the goal to hang out with my friends and drink on a weeknight.
I take dance classes!
So that I don’t have to run as often as I should.
I eat right! I don’t over indulge! I have good taste in clothing, wine, music, literature, and film!
I could eat a cheeseburger at any given moment of the day. I walk out of the house in dresses that are too short. I can’t tell the difference between bad and good wine most of the time. I know all the words to “Wrecking Ball” and “Space Jam”. I read the book “The Bling Ring”–a biography about a group of teenagers that robbed celebrities–and was so fascinated, I couldn’t stop talking about it for a month. I’d rather watch “24 Dresses” than pretty much any Oscar-nominated film.
I’m an adult! I live in a great house, I work hard, and I can do it all with a smile on my face, Kate Spade on my wrist, and money in my bank account! I can give sage advice to my friends and my own name is on my car title. I plan out weekly meals, I budget for events, and I shop at boutiques. I have informed opinions on politics. I vote! I look in the mirror and I’m proud of my body, I’m proud of who I am.
I go through this weird mental race of figuring out what it means to be “an adult” and if I’m there yet. Does it matter if I am? Does it matter if I never get there? What if I will always have to call my mom to do my dirty work with bill collectors for me? What if I never have the financial resources to travel around Europe? What if I can’t afford a vet bill? How does anyone afford dental insurance? Does that mark my failure? Why am I so insecure about how my adulthood is perceived?
Why does it matter?
At times, I feel like I will never grow wiser because I keep making mistakes. Other times, I feel so full of knowledge and strength that I could lead an entire nation at 26. Lots of people go through their “quarter-life crisis” at 25–I seemed to skip that for a year. On my birthday, something sparked in me. I reflected on my life, the people in it, and the choices I’ve been making–am I becoming a better person? What changes can I make to be more responsible, more open, more resilient? A lot of these reflections have translated into the age-old question: “Am I an adult yet?”. I’m trying to grasp that the answer to that doesn’t have to be a dichotomy–my development can be on a spectrum that is continuing to evolve and grow. I am learning to accept my flaws and bask in the things that make me great. I am learning to surround myself with people who are invested in my heart. I am learning to balance work joys with work stresses, and finding the lessons in both. I’m learning how to find the energy to exercise daily, the budget to do all the things I want, and that The Loft has great sales and work-appropriate dresses. And I feel good. I feel like I’m growing.
I’m a work in progress. And it’s fun.