Adult Points

Third Sister’s daughter, aka The Kid, is in her first year of college. Yesterday she texted me, “Do you ever feel like a fake adult?”

“Once a day on a good day,” I texted in return. I thought about The Kid’s question all day.

When do I feel most like an adult? There was the cold, restrained feeling waiting to go in front of my town’s board of appeals to approve a variance for our garage (they refused). Selling or buying a house carries a lot of adult points.

Working at home comes with a lot of negative adult points. Wearing pajamas until noon does not promote adulthood. Although running the dishwasher by 8 am seems to have a couple positive adult points.

Seeing my work in print has positive adult points, as does standing in front of a class teaching. Writing cover letters is a pretty grown-up thing to do. As is invoicing.

It seems like being an adult is correlated with boring bureaucratic matters. Not necessarily. Sitting on the couch with DP and realizing that we’ve had a real relationship for 10 years is pretty adult. (Eyebrow waggle at other connotations of the word “adult.”) Even if we’re watching silly TV.

Going on vacation, renting a car, and staying in a new city seems to come with a good number of adult points. Visiting my friends and hanging out with their kid seems pretty adult too.

Do you folks worry about this?


16 responses to “Adult Points

  1. Every. Single. Day.

    I think it is a perspective problem. I don’t remember not feeling like a kid. I don’t remember not feeling like a teenager. But I had my whole life and plenty of (faking it?) role models to show me what being “adult” was, so by the time I got there (in terms of age and responsibilities) I had a bunch of benchmarks to compare myself to, and generally find myself deficient. I think its more a matter of being rather than feeling.

    Also, what was the variance you wanted for your garage?

    • That might be reassuring? I have a lot of the benchmarks (house, job, car, spouse, bills), but I look at the dirty dishes or the stack of bills and think, I’m screwing this shit all up. Who let me be in charge of anything?

      We have an old rickety metal kit garage and we wanted to replace it with a garage that wouldn’t crush our snowblower in a pile of 100-year-old steel in the next big storm. And we wanted to put a room on top where we could host family. This put us 7 feet over the law and thus we needed a variance. Our neighbors came out in force to tell us that we were terrible people, hated history (we cut down trees that also were going to kill us in our sleep), and that we were going to run an illegal bnb out of our garage room because we told them we would (which we didn’t and weren’t going to). Neighborhood drama.

      • At my house in St. Louis, the garage was on the property line and falling down. We wanted to replace it, but the city said it would have to be moved some requisite distance from the property line. So instead we “repaired” it, first by rebuilding the exterior walls, then the roof. New garage, grandfathered in place.

      • Haha! That was discussed. But in [town redacted] we’re allowed to rebuild a garage that is also on the property line as long as the footprint doesn’t change.

        Now we’re taking a perverse joy in having the ugly decrepit garage marring the neighbor’s view.

  2. Sometimes I find myself looking around thinking, “wait, I’m an ADULT” (I’m 28) but most of the time I don’t really think about it. I go to work, deal with a bunch of BS, go home and either make some super healthy quinoa and veggies thing for dinner OR I have nachos and cookies.

  3. You noticed my name, right? Cougar, eh. That’s in reference to the fact that I am enough older than Indy that when she was a toddler one of my (stupid) boyfriends thought she was my love child, hidden as such by being called my sister. My progeny might be thought of as adults. Cougarson is also already a professor, and Baby Cougar has three cubs, one of whom is already close to his teens. So, I should probably think about being an adult one day soon.

    But actually (and you can tell The Kid this), there’s no such thing. We are all just playing, and those of us who feel grown up were probably born feeling that way (or are just pretending).

    That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t be doing those dishes. Get on to it, Indy!

    • Question: Do you think Cougarson and Baby Cougar are adults? Do they think they are adults?

      Aside: I can’t believe Baby Cougar’s oldest is almost a teen. But also then I’m pretty sure Cougarson’s oldest IS a teen. Ye gad.

      Stomps feet: I did those dishes!

      Addendum: I’m glad you didn’t marry that stupid boyfriend.

      • Rather than answer that question, I’ll tell you a story. One day, our mother said something to me about being “elderly.” This was when I was about the age that Cougarson is today. I snorted at her and said “what in the world are you talking about?” she said, “well, when your children are middle-aged, you can call yourself elderly.” I snorted again, not feeling (and to be fair, still not feeling today) middle aged in any way. But that’s not the end of the story. This conversation with Mom was taking place a few days before we were shoving off to [name of faraway country — I know! It was a sign of filial ungratefullness to leave! — redacted] to Dr Cougar-husband [what do you call him already?]’s first academic appointment. “When you are a faculty wife,” queried Mom, a “faculty wife” herself, “will you give up wearing those sausage dresses?” reference to very short stretchy un-middle-aged dresses. I think she really meant “When you are a faculty wife, will you be a grown up?”

        I guess you have my answer.

        (Baby Cougar – Are you reading this? Are you a grown up? Am I?)

  4. Firstly, since when did I become baby cougar? Please stop! You can’t refer to a grown woman as baby!

    Secondly, I work with a lot of teenagers and often feel like I am “one of them”. A while back I took a couple of them on a trip to a different city. We were listening to some music from my playlist and I was surprised when one of them started singing along to Arrested Development. Thinking I was very cool (and he was for listening to good music) I asked how he knew this song… “You listen to same music as my mum”…. I quickly pointed out I was not old enough to be his mother and he definitely should not compare me to her again! Technically I am old enough…

  5. Now look what you’ve done, Indy! You’ve got me in trouble! YOU started the Baby Cougar thing. She’s pretty tall. That must mean she is at least grown, if not grown up.

  6. I don’t remember ever feeling like a child. Always responsible, worrying, planning, trying to figure things out. Even my dad says, You were always a grown up, even as a toddler.

    How sad to write that down, true as it is.

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