I am a 23 year old ‘woman’. I work for a major worldwide cooperation, I have a better-than-average apartment, I have a long-term boyfriend that I share that apartment with. Hell, I even have a dog. A living, breathing creature that depends solely on me for its survival.
I also just had a quesadilla and wine for dinner at 12:30 a.m. after going grocery shopping for (I kid you not) waffle cones, milk, sugared-donut Capt’n Crunch, strawberries and four bottles of wine. My father, at my age, was a police officer and a father of two children with a mortgage and I’m guessing he probably didn’t cry on a daily basis about how hard growing up is. I don’t know exactly what happened between their generation and ours, but somehow “adult-ing” seems harder now.
Maybe it’s because college gave us an excuse not to learn hard and fast what growing up was. Maybe it’s because of the economy and the fact that in order to even have a shot at a good job, you have to go swimming in debt to pay for four years of partying and learning mostly useless information. Maybe it’s because we’re all so self centered in this new world filled with twelve different kinds of social media where we can document every moment of our mundane lives.
Personally, I feel like our parents’ generation doesn’t quite understand us or why we are the way we are. And to be honest, I’m not sure why either. By all accounts, I am a full-blown grown up. But I still have no desire to figure out how health insurance works or ever vacuum. Yet, I find myself being overly excited by a sale on candles or kitchen gadgets. Half the time, I find myself thrilled to try a new recipe for dinner. The other half, I scrounge up SpongeBob mac & cheese.
The most infuriating part of being considered an adult but not feeling one bit like one is the fact that I have to be accountable. I can’t just cry and sob and not go to work because I have cramps. I can’t just not buy groceries because I don’t want to move off my couch because no one else will do it for me. And I certainly can’t not pay my electric bill because I stumbled upon an amazing sale at the mall.
I also have to be accountable for my mental illness. I have suffered as long as I can remember with severe panic attacks and life-altering depression. I even took a medical leave during college because it became too much to handle. College is a very open place when it comes to mental health; however, the real world is not as accepting.
You can’t just walk into a job interview and say “actually, I would not be okay with that, because I have panic attacks and sudden change triggers me.” You can’t call out because the thought of getting out of bed today sends you into a frozen panic. And if you do open up, be prepared for silent judgment or worse; that people begin to see you as incapable. And you have to learn how to combat that without your parents to hold your hand or tell you that it’s okay if you don’t want to deal with real life; because you are an “adult”.
There really should be some kind of handbook or guide for all of this. I don’t want to have to worry about doing the dishes or paying bills or remembering that I need an oil change. I really just want to go back to a time where I had no responsibilities.
I also like having wine for dinner and knowing that I am actually doing better than I think I am.
Maybe we’re doing just fine as “adults”.