When did I become an adult?

(and why did no one warn me??)

(versión en castellano)

I still remember the conversation and the weird feeling it brought with it. Iani and I were waiting for the bus, after having spent an afternoon of clothes shopping (and tons of window shopping, of course) at our favorite place in town. I don’t remember how it began (I think she brought it up), but suddenly we were talking about when would the best moment to have children be. Both of us were still in college, planning on getting a PhD afterwards, and the idea of having kids didn’t sound as surreal as it used to. At some point we stopped talking and exchanged one of those “I know what you’re thinking” kind of looks. We were sort of scared: for the first time, having kids wasn’t so far away, and our conversation didn’t sound so out of place. Yes, we were planning (quite) ahead, but it wasn’t a nonesensical thing to do. Wow, that was scary.

More than two years have gone by since that day. Iani and I graduated and we are grad students now. That conversation, and the scary feeling it brought along, have never left my mind.

After graduating, I came to the US and moved in with Nico. We have a joint checking account, which basically means we are serious about this. We pay our rent, our cats’ expenses, our food, etc, without our parents’ help. I don’t think about this very often, but it is a big deal.

Not so long ago, I was talking to my mom, and she told me she had realized I am an adult now. She made some jokes about it, we laughed, I kind of forgot about it.

Wait a minute… What? That I am what?

My friend Annie was commenting on how annoying being an adult can be, how many decisions and planning it involves, etc. she is married and she has a (really cute) son, of course she is an adult! But wait… Don’t most of the things she describes sound very familiar to me? What is that supposed to mean??

Maybe my mom was right, then (and she should remember I am saying this, because it doesn’t happen very often). Maybe I have become an adult, without even noticing. Let
me repeat my question: when did this happen? Why did none of my friends bother warning me about this? “Hey Dani, tomorrow’s the day, you’ll wake up as an adult” was that so hard to say? But none of them bothered. Not even one.

And what am I supposed to do now? How should I carry on, knowing that I cannot think of my as an aged teenager anymore? I’m still in school, people!! Adults are not in school, they are busy with kids, and dogs and real jobs!!

But still, my mom may be right (remember this, mom, I’ve already said it twice… oh wait! she doesn’t read English… great).

Quite often, Nico and I talk about when are we going to live when we both graduate, and it’s not a “let’s move to the Caribbean and have a bar on the beach” kind of conversation, but a real one. I guess that is something adults do, right?

Then I go back to my grad student “I’m terrified about my qualifying exam” reality, and I can almost convince myself that there is no sign of a grown up in me. But when I catch myself off guard, I’m thinking about what to make for dinner, when to take the cats to the vet or what is a better apartment to rent next year. Hmmmm… Those still count as aged OCD teenager thoughts, don’t they? (I can’t see everyone nodding now. Ouch).

A new question comes to my mind: how do adults convey that picture of seriousness and accountability that characterizes them? I have my hair in two braids at least once a week! That does not exactly scream “responsible adult”, does it?

Come on, adults don’t look like this

Maybe I’m just an aged teenager… And if I’m not, I’ll just convince myself that I am. At least that way I won’t have another reason to freak out.

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2 Responses to When did I become an adult?

  1. Annie Butler Ricks says:

    Love this entry! I wonder if we feel like adulthood has sneaked up on us because we went to graduate school and didn’t get “real jobs” after college. Which, if that’s the case, I think is silly because graduate school, at least in chemistry, is similar to an entry level job (at least after you get past the course work).

  2. Ian says:

    a mi también me encantó este post! Me sentí evidentemente identificada, aunque quizá deba disentir en la parte en la que nadie te avisó. Recordás nuestra conversación en el bar cuando viniste? Creo que esa fue, incluso para mi, una gran advertencia de nuestra adultez acercándose. Obvio, seguimos haciéndonos las boludas. Por suerte, no tengo idea cuánto más nos va a durar xD

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