On Adulting Real Hard

You know those days when you face, head-on, your being an adult? I think the 20’s are super weird because of that. In college, you’re a college student. But someone, when you graduate, you magically become an adult. It’s kind of like on your birthday, when someone asks you how it feels to be x years old, and in your head you’re thinking it’s not a night and day difference.

One of the things I’ve always been pretty aware of is my being kind of spoiled. I’m the youngest of four kids. And to be fair, I think once our parents were able, they spoiled us all, but because of the age gap, I’ve never really known any other way.

When I graduated college and moved to Michigan for my first job, it was my first time really having to take care of myself. Some people might think college is a transition period, but in a lot of ways it’s really not. For my regularly scheduled doctor, dentist, and dermatology appointments, I was always home. My mom scheduled them for me when we knew I’d be on break. In Michigan, it took me 6 months to see a doctor. And even that was for the sole purpose of renewing my birth control pills…two months after I ran out. It took me another year to see a dermatologist, which actually was kind of dumb on my behalf because I have a lot of moles and have already had to have two of them removed. It took me two whole years to find a dentist…

So I was acutely aware of my avoiding certain aspects of adulthood. There were and are things about being an adult that we all enjoy, but there are some responsibilities that are easy to shirk, and I know a lot of recently independent adults who do.

But then, at some point, I guess we have to face the fact that we are growing up. And weirdly enough it took my moving back home for me to do that. Now that I’m back in Portland, back near my parents, it would be so easy to just let my mom go back to scheduling my stuff for me. But it really isn’t. While I still see my family a few times a week, they often have no idea what I’m up to the rest of the time. It’s weirdly freeing.

The other day I got back to my car and I had a ticket. My heart sank. I knew I had paid for parking, but there are a lot of random no parking zones in Portland. I figured I’d messed up. When I looked at the ticket it said I wasn’t properly displaying a front license plate. Dafuq?! I literally ran out of the car to look at my front bumper. And low and behold, four silver screws were holding up nothing. To me there was no logical explanation. If someone stole my plate, why take the time to put the screws back in? But also, how could four holes just fail at once?!

A few years ago, in Michigan, I would have called my mom and asked her what to do. But even though I had literally just had dinner with her, I didn’t do that. Instead I went to Oregon DMV’s website and figured out what to do. Yesterday, I went to the DMV with all the stuff I needed and a book and I patiently waited. I got out of there after less than an hour with new plates. Then I told my parents what happened.

It felt oddly empowering to have done all of that on my own. It felt empowering to have something bad happen to me and not call my mom crying. It felt empowering to have something bad happen to me and not let it ruin the rest of my day. I’m still working on this. I’m still working on accepting that a bad thing does not make for a bad life. But I think that’s also a part of adulthood.

When we’re kids, our parents try to shield us from everything. And if it were up to my mom, she’d still be shielding me non-stop. But I think a true sign of crossing over the threshold to adulthood, is being able to take those bad things in stride.

From one freshly minted adult to another! Til next time.

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