My writing often is a deeply personal reflection that happens during the hours of what some may call a “booty call.” It’s the time when I’m alone with my thoughts, my aspirations, my fears, things that are so purely me, I often forget exist or suppress them sometimes unconsciously or without knowing.
Sometimes I look for an inspiration so big it never seems to come, or in turn, I fixate on things that didn’t go in a way I might have planned and thus feel they aren’t worthy to divulge in detail.
The concepts of “growing up” and “adulthood” have been on my mind a lot lately. In the traditional sense of filing taxes, paying bills and eating more than just Dominos Pizza (if you so choose that lifestyle), and in an untraditional sense of learning to live a “life of substance” as William Miller’s overbearing mom preaches to rock star Russell, which instantly brings him back down to earth (+5 points if you get this reference).
Secretly, I think the word “adult” is just a term people over 18 or 30 or whatever age use to qualify their thoughts, feelings or actions. “After all, we’re all adults here.”
Even though my compilation of studies on adulthood have only ranged the past 23.5 years, more specifically in recent years when I’ve started to reach for a grasp on such a vague and intangible term- kind of like the word “brave.” You don’t know what it is or what it really means. Would you be able to describe it if someone asked you to? However, you know what it FEELS like, and more importantly, can identify it in others.
I think Adult is a similar idea in that it has to be seen by others to be felt by you (does that make sense)? I am pursing my lips and rolling my eyes at myself using this example, but several weeks ago, at my college graduation I felt Adult. Yes, I said it, and you’re probably expecting me to give some BS spiel about the real world (ew) or I’ll miss this (those words would never leave my lips) but no, it was in a different way. Feeling Adult was living in the moment of sticking to a folding plastic chair for three hours, listening to a string of speeches about success being mumbled over the loud speakers, and looking with glazed over thought-filled eyes at a sea of eclectically decorated graduation caps. In that moment, I pictured myself worlds away, hardly even a memory at this point, in my second year of college fully depressed, having an unhealthy relationship with multiple substances, not wanting to really continue going to school, having friends, or doing anything for that matter. That person, although it’s hard for me to remember her now, I know was part of this journey to Adult. And sometimes I get frightened when I see assemblages of her, but I comfort in the feeling that I can only move forward and never move back.
I recently gave someone from my past a second chance at getting to be part of my life (something I have only recently realized is a privilege). To know my thoughts, my goals, my desires, my fears, just me- this is something that is the toughest thing in the world for me to do. Letting people in to see all my parts, not just the physical facade the rest of the world sees. Unfortunately, I gave this person a glimpse, and they didn’t take it. I think they hadn’t reached that archetypical moment of Adult, and I’m not saying that in a condescending way, it was just apparent their inner demons were getting the best of them.
I’ve only cried real happy tears maybe twice in my life. Once, when I finally got to see my little sister Sarah come home from the hospital for the first time when I was six years old, the other, my college graduation. The minute I could see and touch Sarah when my dad and grandma brought her home in a tiny car seat, I brought her these two mini koala TY Beanie Babies from McDonald’s Happy Meals that I had specially saved for her. That act of selflessness was a HUGE deal for me back then, saving a toy and planning in advance like that was pretty noteworthy (I think even my parents were impressed). I placed one on either side of her premature-sized bald head and told her they were her friends and gave them some ridiculous cutesy names I can’t even begin to try and remember. I looked down at this situation with pure joy, gloating because I had a little sister and she was all mine. It had been so long since I’d felt a feeling like that.
I felt a rush of emotion and warm endorphins circulating in my insides, wanting to burst out of the fibers of my very being as I ran to meet my mom’s embrace post walking across the stage at graduation. I think you can only experience that type of emotion with warm tears of joy and inexplicable explosive endorphins when you’ve passed a threshold of a truly Adult moment, never to look back again.