Saturday, June 2, 2012

On being a grown-up


When I was a kid I liked to fantasize about being a grown-up. I wanted to live in New York, be a famous Broadway costume designer, have an amazing husband (think a cross between Lloyd Dobler and Superman), be a great mom to 2 kids, and have a bulldog named Albert. I would be responsible, wise, and sophisticated. And grown-up. I thought that being older and being on my own instantly made me a grown-up.

At work this week (a very grown-up thing to be doing) I sent an email around to my colleagues about working with college prep years (something that we do). I explained what it was and why students might take a 5th year in high school (not always by choice of course). Anyway, one of my co-workers responded to the email whether there was an adult college prep school. He was joking but it also got me thinking-why isn't there an adult college prep school or just adult prep school? It's both hilarious and 100% true - everyone needs a prep year. I think I might have missed my prep year. I don't particularly feel like a grown-up and I'm not entirely sure if I ever will. Of course, Lorelei Gilmore would say I'm definitely not because real adults would never call themselves grown-ups and we all know the Gilmore Girls know all.

When I think about adults I think about my parents not me or my friends. I've only used the word adult when buying movie tickets. I know I'm of the age that one would normally consider an adult but is it just age? I know plenty of guys who are my age who are not adults (or grown-ups) and lots of women who will always be teenagers despite being in their late fifties. I also know a lot of teenagers who are way more grown-up and adult than their parents. Does the fact that I like Hello Kitty and blogging about the 36 things I love about some random movie keep me from being a real deal adult?

Obviously, I do adult things (don't be dirty). I pay taxes, pay bills, vote, act civilly in public (not necessarily something all adults do), sponsor a child in Rwanda, get the tires on my car rotated, care about my health insurance plan. I wear high heels, carry a big girl purse, buy alcohol legally, and vacation in places that don't involve keg parties or 10 people sharing a hotel room. I don't drink bourbon (something I've always felt was the epitome of grown-upness). I only recently bought my first car on my own. I've moved cross-country (about to do it a second time) but I feel like that's something teenagers do; grown-ups put down roots, not act like nomads.

So what makes an adult? Or a grown-up? Is there a difference? Should we all get a prep year?

My 33rd birthday is in about a week. I feel like I should be an adult or at least feel like one. I feel grown-upish and I really do think there's a difference. I just can't figure out what that difference is.

I guess at least I'm not like Charlize Theron's character in Young Adult. I don't pine for my high school days, don't have a high school boyfriend I should have married (or think I should have married), didn't use Patton Oswalt and then treat him like dirt, and don't ghost write young adult novels. I would love to write professionally but I'd prefer to explore my idea of a children's book about a dinosaur named Walter.

Everything is better with dinosaurs...even adulthood.

This is my best attempt at drawing Walter. I never said I was an artist.


  1. You're a grown-up when you start to question a) the musical taste of young people and/or b) the government's use of your tax dollars.

  2. Hmmmm, both things I do now although more on the musical taste and less on the taxes. Maybe grown-upness is measured in the ratio of doing these two things.