What Really Makes You an Adult

Reading for pleasure? Enjoying dark chocolate? Listening to Jazz?

Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash

Navigating those weird years of becoming an adult are very confusing. It’s completely normal to feel like you have absolutely nothing figured out, and you’ll just never gain the status of adult.

By now I think we have all found out that our parents aren’t the all knowing, mighty human beings we thought they were. But we can recognize how freaking helpful they were. It’s obvious to me now that doctor’s appointments never scheduled themselves, dishes didn’t magically disappear and that my dog’s poop will get exponentially smellier if someone doesn’t clean it up right away.

Maybe you become a real adult when all those responsibilities that previously were handled by your parents, become yours. Maybe it’s like a rite of passage. Entering a new tribe. You have to prove that you’re worthy by calling your internet provider to complain about the bad signal.

To me, that’s a very good indicator. But it also goes much deeper than that.

Someone once told me, and I wish I remembered who it was because I thought it was a great observation, that you become an adult when you have to spend your money on things you don’t want to spend your money with.

I’m talking trash cans, toilet paper, TAXES!

I don’t want to spend money on a new sponge so that I can wash my dishes! It’s like paying to do a chore! When I was a kid my mom paid me fifty cents to do the dishes! And now I have to actually pay to work? What is this?!

While I completely agree that when you’re an adult you have to purchase many things you hate, I think that the purchases you choose and want to make are much more meaningful in telling if you became an adult than those you’re trying to avoid.

For example, I absolutely love buying pots and pans. I go to the store and I am immediately surrounded by housewives twenty years older than me. I look through all the pans veeeeery carefully. I need to make sure that they’re absolutely non-stick, sturdy and of course, cute.

To the seventeen year old me, that was completely unimaginable. Back then, if I had 50 bucks in my bank account I would be going to a bar and not to Le Creuset.

So, let me recap.

If I need to solve something, I always have to do it on my own. If I get sick, I have to drag my ass to the hospital. If the car breaks down, I have to take it to the mechanic and I definitely need to clean my dog’s poop by myself.

I also absolutely have to buy soap when I wish I could be buying the latest technology in pans.

That should pretty much guarantee me a member card to the secret club of the real adults, right?

Well, not so fast.

The problem is that I don’t feel like an adult. Someone the other day called me a woman. Me? A woman? I’m still a girl! It’s so weird to hear someone call me a woman! I don’t mean that I feel offended in any way, it just sounds weird, like it doesn’t fit together. Almost like a baby trying to put the triangle shaped piece on the hole shaped like a circle. It just doesn’t fit Jerry! No matter how hard you try, goddammit!

I feel completely lost, and I am coming to terms with the fact that I don’t think I will ever feel like a true adult.

I’m also starting to realize that I’m so consumed with the thought of becoming an adult that I’m throwing away everything that makes being young so beautiful. I need to try and learn that there is beauty in being unsure. In having a whole life of lessons ahead of me.

I always wonder how life would be if we could actually know we are living the good old days while we are in the good old days. I don’t think we can ever know for sure, and that’s what creates that incredible feeling of nostalgia.

Maybe we should stop trying to behave like something we’re not. Maybe the pressure of being young and trying to be an adult, or being old and trying to remain a teenager is just pointless.

There is beauty in every single year of your life.

Remember that ten year period between ten and twenty years old. Every single year on that decade was meaningful, even if it was a little shitty sometimes. You were evolving and growing without putting much thought into it. Giving time, it’s own time, without even realizing it.

Try to live your life this way. Every year, something new and something beautiful. Without looking too far ahead or too far behind.

I promise I’ll try as well.

Well, after I do the dishes. My sink is disgusting right now.

artist and writer from Italy — www.brunacoletto.com

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