Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What Makes a Grown Up?

This photo has very little to do with the post except that dressing up to take photos in a field isn't very adult. Or is it?

My brain has been swirling the last week or so trying to figure out why I don't feel like a grown up and what, in the future, could possibly cause me to finally believe in my own adultness. I'm tempted to start a poll of all the adults I know to find out what made them feel like an adult.

At 26, I'm old enough to vote, drink, smoke, and rent a car. I'm nearly two years married with a joint bank account. I'm four years into a career in which I'm expected to make business decisions and lead a staff of 10-30 people (who all listen to me, for some reason). I've signed a lease, bought a car, filed taxes, and registered for my own health insurance. I've voted in elections and traveled to several continents. I've moved away from home, made new friends (and kept the old), and learned to write thank you notes. I have had ice cream for dinner and leftover pie for breakfast. All good adult things.

I admit that nearly every day I make adult decisions and conduct myself in the manner of an adult but half the time I'm thinking to myself "is this at all convincing? how are people believing me? did she really just call me ma'am?" If I had to give you the age I feel it's much closer to 19 than to 26.

When do the adult-y feelings kick in? Is it after having kids? Is it after buying your first home? Does it kick in after five years of working full time? 10? Do you feel like an adult once all your towels match and you've picked out wallpaper? Is it different for every person? Does everyone just pretend to be an adult until one day they wake up and believe it about themselves?

At this point I'm betting that last one. As it goes, fake it until you make it!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

At Home, Here

Y'all, I swear I just swept the porch.

I spend many mornings on the front porch with a cup of coffee and a book. Sometimes I sit engrossed in the story but many morning the book sits, open and ignored, on my lap. Instead I am engrossed in my new home. I hear the birds calling to each other ('pretty bird, pretty bird' and "ratchhharatchhha'). I watch my neighbors drive by and the squirrels scamper through my yard and into someone else's. If I sit out in the evening with a glass of wine I am witness to kids playing games that I'm sure if I got close enough would remind me of the ones I played 15 or so years ago.

We're happy here in the yellow rental house under the pines. We're happy in our jobs, him at the lab and me in yet another store. I've spent the past few days trying to figure out why we're happy (because, of course, it is not enough to be happy without analyzing--what is wrong with me?). We're in a new state so far from everyone we know and love. So far from our comforts and the familiar and yet we're happy. Yesterday afternoon, walking through the USC campus, dripping in sweat in the 100 degree heat, I figured it out. We're happy because we're moving forward.

Life in Arlington for the past few years was about treading water: finish school, keep my job, don't commit further than two years because then we're outta here, baby. We were making moves to get to where we wanted to be but most of those moves were stationary. Now here we are in a brand new city actually in the future we talked about for so long! We are out of school and employed in our field of choice. We're making decisions for now and next year and the year after that. For so long we were warming up at the starting line and this move down here was like the gun firing and oh boy, we're off!

Now watch us fly.