I was a theatre kid in high school. No surprise there. Around the holidays one year, we performed this heartwarming, full of nostalgia thing that consisted of 25 little mini plays all collected together, with an overarching theme of “what does it mean to be an adult.” At 16, I figured by 25 I would have all of that figured out. Of course, this could not be further from the truth and the only aspects of myself that feel like they’ve changed are the following:
1. My cats can throw up as much as they want and my gag reflex is totally gone. This seems important, because in one of the scenes in the play, there was some line about finally being able to take the gunk out of the sink with bare hands. And how that means you are an adult. Yes, I can now touch gunk in the sink too without wanting to vom. Gross.
sort of like vacuuming. It’s like a zen space where I can’t hear anything and no one can bother me. I think, if I had an actual house, I would feel the same way about mowing the lawn. Total white noise solitude.
3. Sometimes, 10pm really feels like 1am.
4. Sometimes, buying things for my apartment is as fun as buying make-up, dresses, purses, or brightly colored bras. Hey, everyone has their favorite guilty pleasure splurges. Sometimes, I get off on buying pillows. PILLOWS. Once, I bought a glass jar to hold olive oil and it gave me an O face. Not a lie.
5. I baby my cats like they are little children. Very spoiled ones. I do realize this probably moves me from adult and straight to senile.
6. Seems I have finally (almost) learned the lesson my father has spent years trying to drill into my head. “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Despite this harsh stance, he still helped me put together a science project the night before it was due, when I was 8. At 16, I cared even less about science projects and just “made up” all of my findings. And got a C. Lesson learned?
7. For good measure, my mother’s constant admonition has also, sort of, settled in. “The world does not revolve around you, Erika Renae.” The boyfriend would probably disagree and claim that I still regard myself as the sun.
8. Hangovers seem worse. Way worse.
9. I finally understand what money means. It means: debt, anxiety, and bills. I have decided I will be a full-blown adult when I actually have a savings account that doesn’t always tell me I have a zero balance. I kid! I kid! There might be twenty bucks in it…
10. If you don’t use it, you lose it. The idea of taking any classes again exhilarates me, but I’ve realized I’ve spent so long NOT paying crucial attention to my grammar and spelling and NOT reading 8,000 books each semester (English major), that I’ve actually forgotten how to spell words. WHAT THE FUCK. This is why, when I presented my father with my essays at 16, he never caught the mistakes. He fell into the gap too.
I think the most bare moments, when I truly realize I’m not completely out of touch with the world around me anymore (a quality unique to puberty), are the moments when I yell at my boyfriend and sound exactly like my mother yelling at my father.
You know you’ve ALL had these moments. The moments when you think: holy hell, I’ve got an apartment and bills and a partner that I LIVE with and pets and I’m buying candle holders at Christmas Tree Shops and I just spent way too much at the grocery store and the laundry is piling up and OhMyGodISoundJustLikeMyMother.