Tag Archives: adulthood

Two Faced Adulthood

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of a college degree is in want of a job.

But the job we eventually find is rarely the job we want. We begin our “real world” indoctrination at a sub-par job and, as a consequence, learn workforce etiquette in less than ideal conditions.

We learn that we are wage slaves, that the boss owns our time. Time cards are our shackles and cubicles are our prisons.

We learn that it doesn’t matter that our family members died, our pets are missing, our cars are out of gas, or that our best friend has cancer. As soon as we clock in, we cease being a whole person.

One we walk in the door, we are split. We put on a mask. We are forced to pretend that we are just absolutely spiffed to be there, lest we get fired and the money we depend on dry up.

In school, your friends and (sometimes) teachers will sympathize with your situations. Your boss, however, could not care less. You are bought–you are a product, a pawn, and if you do not perform well, you will be punished.

People in the workforce are used to this atmosphere. But school kids are not. They must painfully transition from a world in which they are encouraged to succeed into a world in which they are expected to perform like a trained monkey.

The degree of respect for their talents and smarts is gone. They are left floundering, uncertain of how to behave, of how to split their very soul into two parts: the person they are and the painted porcelain of a flawless employee.

Adulthood?

It’s been driving me nuts.

This question of significance, this existential asking–this idea of who that has no concrete definition…

Someone told me recently that I wasn’t an adult.

“But, I’m 23,” I said.  “I’ve been an adult for five years.”

Apparently that wasn’t a good enough answer.

So I went looking for the definition of adulthood.  You know what I found?  Semi-vagueness.

Adulthood seems to have two common definitions.  One is a noun of a physical nature, of bodily maturity.  I meet that specification–I’m no longer a child, I don’t grow anymore–the only growing I’ll be doing is growing old.  I am an adult.

The second definition is an adjective, a describer of persons.  It’s an attitude of being, a subtle maturity that cannot be defined in specifics.

I believe this definition is subjective.  That it means different things to different people based on their presuppositions about life and their values.

It’s the anti-thesis of “immaturity” which is usually the blending of recklessness, stupidity, and the idea that one does not have to become accountable for one’s actions and situation in life.

When I was in high school, I was “mature” because I wasn’t sleeping around, doing drugs, or skipping class.

When I was in college, I was “mature” because I wasn’t getting drunk and partying every weekend.

Now that I’m out of school, I’m not “mature” anymore because I don’t live on my own.

But I have not changed all that much from my high school days.  I still don’t sleep around, do drugs, or party every weekend.  But suddenly it feels like I am no longer “mature.”

That does not mean that I cannot claim the moniker of adulthood as my own.

What frustrates me is that I have spent years rejecting the notion of adulthood, trying to cling to the wisps of my childhood, and now that I’ve finally accepted my transition to another life stage, I’ve been told that I don’t qualify based on a subjectively vague idea of adulthood.

It frustrates me because I no longer qualify for the criteria of childhood, or teenager-ness.

There is no middle ground.

Us twenty-somethings are cast off in the pool of unknowing.  We have no set definition, no set criteria of what we are.  We are forced to figure out who we are on a year-to-year basis–and I think that’s what makes us so amazingly vibrant.

Curiously, there is no in-between for maturity and immaturity either.

Because there is no middle ground, I can claim adulthood.  But I can also claim some aspects of my youth.  I can be flighty, imaginative, and free-spirited.  I can travel.  I can explore new things and revel in the wonders of life.

But I can also be mature, predictable, and persistent.  I can hold down a steady job, pay my bills, and be a good pet-owner.

I am an adult, but I’m not only an adult.

I find myself undefined.

5 Reasons I Feel Like An Adult

As a recent grad, I’m realizing that life this side of college has more responsibility that I was ready for.   Though I’m still very much a kid at heart, I’m having to take on adult responsibility–and that is both exciting and terrifying.

So I started thinking yesterday about how I’m beginning to look like something that resembles an adult.

1. I have mountains of debt. 

College isn’t cheap, for anyone.  I, being stupider than most, chose to attend a private, out-of-state college.  So my college expenses were astronomically high, though not as bad as some.  However; I’m far from average.  The average college kid has $24,000 in student loan debt.   Triple that, and it’s closer to my debt.

This debt-mountain expects me to start paying it my hard-earned cash.  Which brings me to point two…

2. I have more bills than I know what to do with.

Adult life seems to be driven by bills.  Electric bills, car payments, utilities, dentist and doctor bills, not to mention rent…

And then, for grads, loan payments.  I have five different bills coming in for my loans.  That’s five chances to miss a payment, or screw up my routing number online.  Or five chances for checks to get lost in the mail.  And the whole time my credit score is hanging over my head like a death sentence, saying “I am the number people will define you by for the rest of your life!”

3. My wardrobe is getting a makeover. 

I used to live in t-shirts, jeans, and sandals.  If it wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t wear it.  Skirts were the devil incarnate, and high heels were the devil’s evil cousin.

Now that I’m a “professional” (yes, I giggled too–me, a professional? Hah!), I find myself shopping for cute flowery shirts, cardigans, the dreaded skirts…and yes, even high heels.  While our office is semi-casual–jeans on Fridays, yessssss–it is expected that I not look like a hippie/vagrant while I’m at work.  So I am learning to be semi-comfortable in a semi-casual workplace.

4. I am being addressed as “ma’am,” and “miss.”

This may or may not have something to do with living in the South.

Either way, it is weird. In my head, I am neither of those titles.  I’m Katie.  Just Katie. (You’re a wizard, Harry.)  Maybe if I’m constantly addressed by them, I’ll start conforming to the name.

“Ma’am” to me sounds very matronly, does that mean I’m matriarchal? Yikes.

“Miss” is better.  Sounds like a nice young schoolteacher or something.  I’m okay with being called “miss.”  Besides, “Miss Katie” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

5. Budgeting.  

I have never had to make a budget.  I made money, I spent it.  On something fun.   Like ice cream, or a video game.  It was a good life.

But now I only get paid once a month, and in order to not have to beg for gas money, I’m going to have to learn how to budget.  Sound fun? It’s not.  I make a chart and watch my paycheck dwindle and dwindle into nothingness.

I’ll be doing my first budgeting chart later in the week, probably with hilarious results.  I’ll be darned if my budding adulthood takes fun out of my life.  There’s got to be a way to balance responsibility and fun, right?