Today I was at lunch talking about home ownership with a friend. I was telling her about the process of buying a house and she said, “I should talk to you about this stuff more, you’ve got this adulting thing down.”
My first thought was, “my mac and cheese dinner plans disagree with you,” and the second was, “adulting is such a load of horse shit.”
For such a long time I have talked about ‘adulting’ as if it was a place. I’ve even talked about it on this blog! I’ve used that phrase regularly, as if it was a mountain to be climbed, skill to be achieved, an exact science to be practiced.
That’s how a lot of us think of adulthood, really. When we are kids we spend so many years being asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As if we will reach a day and we will suddenly change from child to adult! As if we will stretch, sigh, and praise the lord that we made it, and then we will stroll into our predetermined lives with the same ease as if we were walking to school.
When people find out I own a house most of them comment, “wow, you’re a real adult now.” OK, but this morning I snoozed my alarm five times, got out of bed three minutes before I had to leave, ate a granola bar for breakfast, and showed up to work 15 minutes late. Is that adulty? It doesn’t feel real adulty.
Nothing has changed other than the place I live, so why now am I suddenly being recognized as an adult? Sometimes it even gets me a little annoyed. I’m sorry, I wasn’t adult enough for you before! I thought working full time and paying rent felt pretty adult, but I guess it wasn’t! Code: I’ll just pack my thing and go!
If adulthood is a place then how do we get there? What does an adult look like? What are the exact qualities? And how can we be practice being a good one?
Does an adult have kids? If she does, does a good adult make sure her kiddos get to school with hair brushed and breakfast in tummies?
Does an adult consistently care for house and home? That would mean a good adult fixes things when they break and takes care of all her living beings.
So what if my toilet chain breaks and I choose to fix it with a paperclip? If I leave my dogs alone so I can run to the store and they eat an extension cord while I’m gone? If I forget to pay a bill, eat cheese and wine for dinner, forget to call my dad on his birthday, miss an appointment?
If these things happen, am I a failure?
Shit guys, I hope not. Because I’ve done every single one.
How about if a momma wakes up with a migraine and the best she can do that morning is tell her children to make their own breakfast and watch them out to the bus? If you think she’s a failure then come on over and I can give you a good punch to the nads, or lady bits if you have those instead. Because that woman is my hero.
I would never call a mom who is sick but still manages to get her kids to school a failure, no matter what state those kids arrive in. Her little girl could show up on a 20 degree day in a tutu, and I would be like “damn, that bitch is a goddess. She got her kids to school even though she felt like she might actually die.”
Because here’s what I would do if I had a migraine: I would lay in bed all day in my underwear with the lights out. I would (maybe) get up to feed myself crackers and water before I went back to the crevice my immobile body had imprinted in my mattress for the night.
If adulting is a skill, can children adult? Finances are an ‘adult’ thing, yeah? Eight year olds save money. Honestly, they’re probably better at it than I am. Three year olds practice conflict resolution. Sixteen year olds have jobs, drive themselves places, pay some of their own bills.
I guess we don’t consider them adults because of their dependence on others. But are we not all dependent on others? Maybe if we are going to use a phrase it should be ‘humaning’. You can call your friend and be like, “Oh my god Lisa, I humaned so hard today you’ll never believe it. I cleaned the whole house and made the kids Pinterest worthy snacks for school tomorrow.” And Lisa would be like, “get it girl!”
Either way, I think I’m done with ‘adulting’. Some days I feel like I’m killing life, and others I really don’t. But I never feel like a failure because I’m not meeting the achievements of my peers. I don’t feel like I’m failing adulthood because I just picked up a months worth of dog poop from my back yard that I was too lazy to pick up before. I’m just human. Sometimes I don’t feel like it. Oh well!
Real truth: there has been a moment for every single person I know when I have thought that each one is a god damn super hero. ‘Adulting’ might be bullshit, but I promise you that isn’t. If you are reading this, I guarantee that I have thought you were unattainably awesome more times than one. I promise I have been impressed with something you’ve done, even if you weren’t. If you’re a stranger to me then obviously I know nothing about you and haven’t had a chance to think you’re a super hero. But I am certain someone else has.
The act of being a human is fucking hard y’all. If you’re alive, then I promise you’re doing something awesome whether you see it or not. Something as little as getting your kid to school is a great feat when you feel like death. Even if you felt terrible about not being at 100%. Even if that kid shows up in a tutu. It’s super hero worthy.