Single White Female Seeks Adulthood

May 9, 2012 § 5 Comments

Guest post by Becky Silva.

I like asking people who are older than me when they truly felt they had become adults. I get all kinds of answers.

Some say that it was when they left for college.
Others answer that it was when they married their spouse.
Or became parents.

I ask because I don’t feel like an adult.
I’m waiting for adulthood.
I wish that adulthood was like joining a Greek sorority or fraternity, so then I could just be hazed and know for sure.

As I sit here writing and waiting for my impending adulthood, I’m reminded of all the times that I thought my life would change when I hit a certain “magic” age.

When I was 9 years old, I knew EVERYTHING would change when I turned 10. Not only is 10 double digits, but because my dad was in the Navy and I was his dependent, I would get my very own I.D. card. I could flash this I.D. card at the gates to get on the military base where my mum went grocery shopping. Mind you, my mum was the one who actually kept my I.D. card safe in her purse, but that didn’t matter.

When was 12, I knew that EVERYTHING would change when I turned 13. Because 13 means you’re a teenager. And teenager means you’re not a kid anymore. It means you’re mature…and you get boobs.

When I was 14, I knew EVERYTHING would change when I turned 15. Fifteen meant I would have my driver’s permit — a small card that identified me as being able to drive…with my parents in the front seat.

When I was 15, I knew EVERYTHING would change when I turned 16. Sixteen meant that I could drive without parents in the car, like a boss.

When I was 17, I knew EVERYTHING would change when I turned 18. Eighteen meant I was an adult in the eyes of the U.S. Government.  And with the power of adulthood I could legally purchase lotto tickets, cigarettes, porn, and call the 1-800 number to order Hooked on Phonics. I chose to use my power to buy lotto tickets for my church’s youth group Christmas white elephant gift.

When I was 19, I knew EVERYTHING would change when I was 20. Twenty meant that I was no longer a teenager. It meant I was a more legit adult.

But that didn’t last long, because when I was 20, I knew EVERYTHING would change when I was 21. Then I could legally buy alcohol, and everybody knows that alcohol is the epitome of adulthood.

In college, I knew EVERYTHING would change when I was finished with a degree under my belt. The world would then accept me as an adult who contributes to society.

But everything did not change. At least not in the ways I thought they would.

On their own merits, each of the small achievements made small changes in my life that, looking back, don’t seem like such a big deal anymore. But they’re important in the moment. They’re like small tiny steps toward adulthood.

For instance, last summer I was in California. I was twenty-three and realized I had no idea how to correctly style my hair. It’s curly and thick and looks like a dead rat’s nest if something doesn’t happen. And for someone who has “allegedly” been an adult for at least five years, I knew that wasn’t acceptable. So I called my aunt who is a hairstylist and asked her to teach me how to tame the beast. She did.

And I was one step closer to adulthood.

I’m now 24, and my mum lets me keep my own I.D. card. For all legal and social purposes I am an adult. And every once in a while I do things that make me feel like I’m not a kid. Then I’ll do something that makes me feel absolutely anti-adult. So I’ve made two lists.

Things that make me feel like an immature kid:

  • my messy room and car
  • craving sweets
  • Reading books from the kid’s section at the library
  • making faces at the children that sit in front of me in church
  • not wanting to go to church
  • crying
  • wanting people to like me
  • wanting people to laugh at my jokes
  • birthdays
  • my entire fashion “sense,” or lack thereof
  • not going on dates
  • never being in love
  • wanting to memorize a dirty rap song
  • misspelling words on social media
  • wondering when I’ll become an adult

Things that make me feel like I could possibly not be a kid anymore:

  • cooking for people other than myself
  • cooking dinner in a crockpot
  • making meatloaf for dinner
  • making substitutions to food recipes
  • people telling me that something I cooked is delicious
  • having friends over the age of 30
  • moving 1100 miles from anybody I knew to intern in Madison
  • correcting people’s grammar on Facebook
  • having a college degree
  • hosting a Premier jewelry party
  • having a favorite tampon brand
  • buying said favorite tampon brand
  • writing checks
  • sending said checks to my siblings for their birthdays
  • using phrases like “I digress” in my blog
  • guest blogging for Abi and Pakou’s blog

What about you? What makes you feel like an adult? What makes you feel like a non-adult? What should North Americans do to haze young adults into adulthood?

Becky is currently a barista at Caribou Coffee while waiting for the powers that be to grant her the sacred gift of adulthood. When not working, she blogs, practices funny faces in the mirror (to use on children in church), and writes lists that she will probably never use.

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§ 5 Responses to Single White Female Seeks Adulthood

  • e says:

    This was an awesome post. I will probably always read books from the teen section of the library. *shrug* I think what made me feel like an adult was paying rent, and hating it. What made me feel like a non-adult was watching friends who are younger than me move to fancy sounding cities like NYC and make about 3x more $ than me. Oh, and watching The Nanny Diaries, because every time, I feel like ScarJo. If I had little siblings, I’d probably never write them checks. I’d probably send them smelly crap from B&BW. So you’re a much nicer adult and sibling than most, BS. Like a boss.

  • flamingjune1967 says:

    When did I finally feel like an adult? When I brought my first baby home from the hospital, I kept waiting for the Drs to come running from the hospital screaming “She can’t take care of a baby!” When I bought my first home I kept waiting for the Attorney to start laughing “She can’t pay a mortgage!” and when I became a grandmother I kept thinking there must be a book or something to tell me how to act. I’ll let you know when I get there!

  • Danny Sabra says:

    This was fantastic. Thanks for writing it. I’m 24, and I don’t feel like an adult at all. I think I always thought adults knew what was going on. That being an adult is some sort of confidence level, and assurance of how to handle almost any situation one might find oneself in. I probably got this from my parents, because I always assumed they knew what to do. But in reality, the more adults I interact with on a daily basis, the more I realize that adults only respond to daily situations because they have to by obligation, not because they actually know what they’re doing. Inside, we’re all still frightened unsure adolescents. At least the less vain of us are. As for me, I still believe being an adult means having your “stuff” together, and I don’t have my stuff together at all. So much for being an adult. Embrace the inner youth!

  • wendy says:

    One defining adult moment for me was when I decided that nobody gets to tell me how to live my life anymore. I began owning my decisions, thoughts and actions, and set up a heavy defense system against all those who had been keeping me from being who I really am. Now I proudly commit “Asian sins” and never lie or apologize for them, and I have my own reasons for the traditions that I do honor, instead of adhering to them because “I have to”. More than degrees, jobs, life-stage-changes… that, to me, is what being an adult means!

  • Becky says:

    It’s nice to know that others have the same insecurities I do as a proverbial adult.

    Everybody is so inspiring!

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