05 February 2014

When are you REALLY a grown up?

What is it that makes a grown up? I don't know if there's a certain"real" definition. I've definitely had moments and times that I said, "Now, that means I'm grown up."

I also still have times when I think I'm not legit as a grown up. I still like my music too loud, maybe not 24/7, but I do like my loud moments. I love when I'm driving alone and I can blast the radio. I like some new music and some of the stuff I had growing up too. So my tunes aren't ready to grow up.

People ask me if I have kids to which I reply no. Well, that's a conversation stopper for most people and one that makes me feel like I'm not a real grown up. The adults have children; the rest are just pretending. Now, no one ever tries to make me feel that way. It's just my own sense that being responsible for the viability of a human being seems like a totally grown up thing. It's like being a doctor. Lives depend on you. Sometimes I try to break the post no kids ice in the conversation by chatting about my dog. She depends on me but I know it's not the same, and I wonder then if people think I'm crazy. (Jury is out on that one) Maybe I just don't know how to handle the conversation in a grown up way. 

Do clothes make you a grown up? Some of my formative years were during a preppie dress for success era. This has really been brought home to me lately. In Madrid, boots are in style. I recognize in myself a style schizophrenia that makes me doubt my adulthood. There are formal horse riding style boots. Good for slacks and wool skirts and preppie business wear. I should like these and only these if I'm a grown up, right? But the rough and rowdy, kick someone's butt boots appeal to me TOO. The space ship is coming soon boots also hold an appeal. So my struggle with boots and clothes seems to bump me out of the grown up category. I dabble in them all. This makes me think I'm not a real grown up. A real grown up would have a singular sense of their style. Right?

One thing that made me affirm my adulthood early on is the presence of bills that must be paid, and the paying thereof. I do still hold on to that corner of adulthood. Like it or not it's just reality. Maybe familiarity has bred contempt in this case and I have lost that adult feeling. It's lost the sense of grand adult-ness though I do see it as a mark of a real grown up to pay one's bills.

Another thing that a roommate of mine and I used to joke about was having to be the responsible parties in given situations in college. That study group that the teacher organized? Yeah, but I would be the one to make the meeting happen and to get the project pieces turned in. Or organize transportation for a group? That would be me. Or plan the outing or whatever. That seems to have stuck, but maybe in my, uh, middle adulthood I'm learning to let people deal with their lack of planning, without me always jumping in as I might in the past. Both of those make me feel grown up. For the moment anyway.