Can This Whole Adulthood Test Be Open-Book?

When I was younger, I had many ideas as to how my adulthood would be spent. First, I would marry Cecil Fielder from the Detroit Tigers. Secondly, I would be a doctor/lawyer/dancer. You know, all three. Just balancing those jobs like people do. Third, I would have a beautiful house, three children (I thought it would be cool to have the same amount of children in my future family that I did in my own family), and a dog. The kicker? All of this would be done by the time I was 25.Yep. Back in elementary school, I had my future ON LOCK.

For those keeping score, I am currently 24 years old. Cecil Fielder and I never got hitched. I did not end up pursuing medicine, law, and dance like I knew I would. I still live at home. I definitely do NOT have kids. My dog died three years ago. My life is not at all where I thought it would be when I dreamt about it in elementary school and, just now, I am starting to realize that that is totally okay. Everyone does adulthood differently. Here is how I’m doing mine.

1. I went to college and pursued two majors that, to mainstream society, are apparently useless!
I majored in English and Women and Gender Studies while at university. The English major was declared right from the start – I loved English in high school and it was what made the most sense to me as a college major – and the WGS was declared mid-sophomore year. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have told someone this fact and been given a reply of, “What? Really?” or, my favorite, “Well, that was a waste of money!” Not really, folks. I went to school for four and a half years, took classes that I LOVED, met so many incredible people who knew so much about topics I cared a lot about, and made connections that will benefit me for the rest of my life. More importantly, these majors (especially my WGS) opened my small town eyes to a world that I was unaware of before I attended university. I will be paying off student loans for the next 10 years, but it was worth it.

2. Heading back to my place means heading back to the place in which I spent my formative years. Watch out for my parents. Also, you need to be out by 11.
One thing I loved about my time at university was my time living with friends. I loved having a place of my own where I could decorate, buy my own food, have people over whenever I wanted – it was the life. It was also a life of wasted money (I had no clue how to grocery shop back then), too late nights where I woke up feeling worse than I did before I fell asleep, and awful decisions in interior decorating (say hello to my college-typical Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix posters). Honestly, I was initially bummed about having to move back in with my parents. I had become really used to my schedule and my ToTaLLy CoOL way of living that I thought my mom and dad were going to “limit me” or”¦something. Truth time? My parents are awesome roommates. I know that’s not the case for everyone, so I won’t act as though it is, but I am lucky to have two very hilarious and laidback parents. Also, they are parents who do not make me pay rent. While I do miss the small luxuries of living on my own, nothing beats no rent, home-cooked meals, and someone to come home to and talk with each night.

3. The biggest day of my life so far has not been my wedding day, but probably that day back in 2006 when the Tigers completed their sweep of the Yankees.
This particular point is one that took awhile to resolve within myself. Most of my classmates from high school are in serious relationships/are married, have kids, and are settling down. My last relationship was about three years ago and most recently, I ended an awful friends with benefits situation that did more harm to my emotional wellbeing than good. My brother has been in a serious relationship for eight years and my sister just recently started dating someone. Needless to say, the entire idea of, “When will I find someone?!” has been a touchy subject for me of late. Recently, though, I have made a conscious effort to remind myself of why I really do like being single. Reasons include, but are not limited to, the following: I like spending my nights at home watching baseball, getting all gussied up for dates takes away from me time (a.k.a. time farting around on the Internet), and I can do WHATEVER I WANT with WHOMEVER I WANT. On a more personal and serious note, this period of being single has been really fantastic in terms of exploring my bisexuality. I am recently out (about a year and a few months now) and this is the first time I have been able to explore my sexuality, figure out what kinds of things I like and who I want to spend my time with, and do all of this without the pretense of, “The two of us need to be taking the one-way train to Marriageville.” While I do look forward to a serious relationship one day, I know that it is not something I am willing to commit to at this moment.

4. (Sort of) thankless job? Thank you for the life experience.
I have always expected a lot of myself and my future career is no exception. Since I was a senior in high school, I imagined book publishing as my future career. I have always loved reading, admired authors, and believed that the process of creating and producing literature would be a fulfilling and worthwhile career. Since this realization, I have completed two publishing internships, made countless connections in the field, contacted so many companies I can barely count them anymore”¦and I still have no real prospects. Is this frustrating? Yes. While I’m career-searching, do I have a job that allows me to pay my bills and take care of myself? Also yes. Finally, does my current job sometimes drive me crazy, but also make me realize how happy I’ll be when I finally do score that dream job? YES. I have been in my current job for approximately two and a half years now and my feelings about it go from loving it to really needing to get out. With that being said, I realize each day that the frustration I feel with my current job at times will be worth it when I do score that dream job. Also, if nothing else, I’m grateful to have a constant source of income and to have made new friends at work – I could be jobless and friendless, but I’m not. Things aren’t all bad.

This article comes from a place of acceptance. The past year has been one of immense struggle for me. I have felt like a failure in many aspects of my life – namely, the ones I mentioned above – and I am starting to realize that I’m doing things my way, which is exactly how it’s supposed to be. It feels very liberating to know that my life is NOT supposed to be like everyone else’s. The fact that I’m not married right now is not terrible. My lack of my own place is okay (especially if it means I get free meals each day and save money on rent). No kids yet? Definitely no problem! The pressure placed upon individuals by society to have specific things done by certain points in our lives is, for the most part, unrealistic and harmful. Ultimately, the only person that you have to answer to is yourself. And if you’re not happy with what you’re seeing? Stop by my parents’ place and enjoy a meal with me. We’ll sort you out.

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25 years old. Proud Michigander. Lover of Scandinavia, feminism, the Detroit Tigers, and perusing unaffordable real estate. Du har. Du vil. Du burde.

7 thoughts on “Can This Whole Adulthood Test Be Open-Book?”

  1. It’s interesting. I’m in my mid-30s, and still don’t consider myself an adult. I have (finally) paid off my loans for my “useless” English degree, and I never moved back in with my parents (this was best for everyone’s sanity and safety), but I look at some of my other friends my age, with “grown-up” jobs, and houses they own, and who have plans on the weekends, and bins of decorations that they put out for different seasons and holidays and stuff like that, and I realize that adulthood is a sliding scale. It’s what you make of it. Yeah, I may have what some consider a dead-end job, but I don’t take it home with me, I have a great schedule, and I can pay my bills. I may not own my house, but I have a place to live that I love. I have time to pursue my side projects and interests. I’m an adult on my terms, not measured against someone else’s standards.

  2. Whenever people said to me, “And what do you plan on DOING with a creative writing degree?” I’d say, “How many people do you know who can’t even write one paragraph?”

    Of course, then I ran out of money and figured I could write without putting myself further in debt, and I never actually got that degree, but STILL. It’s completely rude when people are dismissive like that.

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