This fact of life hits me occasionally: I’m a frickin’ grown-up.
When did that happen?
Every now and then I get this feeling, this shock that I’m an adult. It hits unexpectedly most times. When I’m setting up the coffee maker for the next morning, making a dinner that includes vegetables or talking to my husband about Ollie’s development concerns. It hits…
I’ve changed. I’m a grown-up with grown-up responsibilities.
It’s sometimes a little jarring.
I generally think of myself as being about 16 and still la-la-la-ing my way through life.
When did this all-important, but almost imperceptible change take place?
Possibly, it was college graduation, unleashed into the world, using my hard-won education to better my life, by uh….telemarketing and receptionist jobs and a brief-but-eye-opening detour into door-to-door sales. Duped by cleverly worded newspaper ads, I walked a quaint town selling discounted Golf foursomes. In 80 degree weather, cute high heels and full-on “business” attire, learning the suggested hand gestures to use to gain more sales. Clearly, this was a mistake an adult wouldn’t make.
Perhaps when I moved out on my own? Without roommates to blame things like electricity-cutoffs and missed telephone calls on, suddenly I’m responsible for all the bill-paying and dish-washing. But that’s all day-to-day grind stuff, anyone with any amount of common sense realizes you wash the dishes before you get roaches.
Another option is a combo. A one-two punch of personal milestones. Marriage and parenthood. Nothing like settling into newlywed life with joint bank accounts and matching cellphone plans to help you to the conclusion that you’re kinda like your parents. Add to that a tiny newborn to drag you kicking and screaming into adulthood.
But that’s not spot-on, either. I considered (but clearly not bought into the idea) long before I met Matty and Ollie was born that I had evolved. But changing my last name to reflect a new identity was part of the evolution.
I’d considered the idea that maybe I wouldn’t ever be a parent, but it happened, in a completely unexpected fashion that really threw us for a loop.
And I completely rearranged my life to keep Ollie in it.
Is that when you become a grown-up? Rearranging the things that are important to make room for someone or something else? That subtle change of priorities when you actually leave work on time and exchange your sporty(ish) two-door for a sedan? When you’re introduced to someone who makes you realize that It’s Not All About You anymore?
It’s a combination of everything. But every now and then it hits me. I’m not 16 and la-la-la-ing through life. I dress appropriately for the weather, don’t mind Elton John, feel a buzz after one amaretto sour and eat leftovers. I drink coffee, use coupons and plan meals. I’m in bed by 10 and straighten up the house before turning out the lights. I call the cops on suspicious behavior in my neighborhood. I’ve taken note that the models on the covers of Parenting Magazine are not my mom’s age, but mine.
Now I know how my dad felt when he saw Paul McCartney on the cover of the AARP’s magazine. How can this icon of my generation be on an old-folks publication? he asked in the same way I wonder how someone my age can have a family, a house, a respectable car and vegetables for dinner.