I'm 31 years old and I'm wondering when I'm going to grow up.
Every month I shell out a shit ton of money on bills and responsibilities but I often catch myself wondering if that actually makes me a grown up. Every morning I get in my SUV and I drive to a job I worked so hard to get but I often catch myself wondering if that actually makes me grown up. Sometimes I feel like I got pushed into adulthood against my will: no one to define it, no one to show me how to do it with style and grace.
In college, they told me I could be anything I wanted. They drilled into me that if I studied hard, got good grades and picked the right internship I would basically be handed the life I wanted along right with my bachelor's degree. What they didn't account for during those wonderful college years, was the fact that the economy would crash and the job market would flounder and my fellow grads and me would spend years wondering where the dream went. Instead of getting handed the life I wanted, I was handed the life of some grown ass woman who had to figure shit out as she went along. I still haven't figured it out. Some days I find myself wondering if I ever will.
I want to know when that will actually happen and if someone could hand me a detailed plan of how it unfolds with an annotated bibliography that would be ideal.
Lately I find myself questioning everything: from the city I've chosen to live in, to the endless hours of experience I've gained and the copious amount of debt I've incurred with trying to gain aforementioned experience. It's like adulthood has taken me hostage and is holding me for an unknown ransom. I often wonder how much more do I need to do before I can get away? What amount of money do I need to pay to finally have what was promised to me?
IS THIS WHAT A MIDLIFE CRISIS FEELS LIKE?!?!? Someone get me a red sports car with JJ Watt in the passenger seat.
I feel like a fraud. I do all the things "adults should do" yet I feel unfulfilled and hollow. I have a Pinterest board labeled "adulthood" that's filled with budgeting tips, tips on how to buy a home and the proper way to clean a Keurig yet I feel nowhere near the "adult" I should be at 31. There are times I wonder how many lefts I have to make before things finally go right.....when do things finally start to falling into place? Do they ever?
I'm learning that I was lied to: you aren't handed the life you dreamed of when you exit college, even if you picked the right internship. In fact, most people I know weren't handed the life they dreamed of so I have no idea where all my professors got that notion. The life you dreamed of is constantly evolving, just as adulthood is. Maybe paying bills, driving to work everyday and knowing how to clean a Keurig aren't the dictionary definition of adulthood: maybe it's defined as creating that dream life from the life that was handed to you.
Maybe it's time I stop comparing adulthood to failure and more to confidence. Not a confidence that says "I have it all figured out", but one that says "hey, I'm not sure I know the answer but let me find it." I admit, confidence is an area I have struggled in my whole life and one that I'm trying to actively work on. Maybe it's less about the "knowing" and more about the "doing". Maybe by actually "doing" I can gain the confidence to stop living in fear of not taking the right turns and start enjoying the ride.
I don't have the answers at 31 and I might not have the answers at 32 and maybe I will always feel like a fraud but I'll tell you this: I'm tired of living empty and hollow. I'm tired of existing. I want to create a dream life from the life that was handed to me, and start figuring out what it means to be a "grown up".
I'll still take that red sports car with JJ Watt riding shot gun, though.
This post is dedicated to my best friend Ashley: without her I would be in a ditch on the side of the road covered in drool and empty bags of chips and this post would have never been written. Thank you for having faith in me.