I was talking to my little sister this afternoon and our conversation steered the direction of being an adult. Those are some scary, heart-stopping, palm-sweating words. Kenz has been fretting, as I remember fretting, that with college graduation comes a step into adulthood. And in some ways, yes. It is a step into adulthood.
But so was graduating high school and going to college. So was taking that job that paid rent and bought groceries. So was that first relationship outside the bounds of teenage melodrama and gossiping girls. So was your 21st birthday. (Well, Kenz, you don’t know about this one yet.)
I realized, though, that this year — 2013 — this is the first year, despite all my baby steps into adulthood, that I really feel like I’m being an adult. Not just sometimes, not just in certain situations, not just with certain decisions. But all the time. All the time I am an adult.
So I thought about why.
Why, when I’ve had adult decisions and adult consequences since that magical 18th birthday, do I just now feel like a full-time adult?
1. I’m graduating with my Masters degree.
Pardon the clip art. With my Masters degree, I’m stepping out after graduation with the intention of starting my career. Before graduate school, I applied for a job that I ended up loving but was more about new experiences and paying rent & bills. I never intended to stay in the job or the field (IT).
But with my Masters, this is it. This is the beginning of my career and that’s thrilling & terrifying all at once.
(This is not to say people do not start their careers after their Bachelor’s degrees. Plenty of people do. But I always intended to get a Masters degree and as I want my career to be in academia, this was a required step.)
2. I’m turning 25.
I’m smack in the middle of my twenties. There is just something about this age, to me, that sounds adult. It’s a bit inexplicable, maybe.
When I turned 18, I could say I was an adult. But at 25, others see me as an adult. It’s in the way other adults interact with me. It’s in the way my students ask me about the next steps of their adult lives. It’s in the way I remember, vividly, thinking my 25-year-old just-got-his-Masters-degree history teacher in high school was just so much older than me while still being so much younger than all the other teachers.
3. I’m getting married.
Which is major. Even though I’ve been with my fiance for over 5 years, we are really and truly beginning our lives together. Not our lives near each other, revolving around each other, like two separate suns. But our lives, inseparable, for the rest of time, (I couldn’t think of an appropriate astronomical metaphor here).
I’m thrilled for our wedding, for our honeymoon, for our first year of marriage (though I know it will be a challenge).
As a quiet, but devoted Christian, marriage means certain things to me and carries a particular weight with me. I know it carries the same meaning with my fiance. And it’s that we’ve made this decision, together. We’re defining ourselves as a pair, as our own family beginning.
These three events in this year are why I feel, finally, like a full time adult. Which is not to say that others don’t feel like adults younger than me or older than me, and I don’t discount their adult experiences. For me, I find myself unexpectedly being an adult, but this year I finally don’t feel like I’m faking it most of the time. I just feel like being an adult is just a part of my identity.
I am an adult.
No two ways about that anymore.
(BEDA: April 11, 2013)