Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What makes me an adult?

So I guess I'm into question-themed titles. Deal with it. (?)

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what makes me an adult. The world defines adulthood in some tangible and some not-so-tangible ways.

Is it because I pay my own bills? I don't. As a PULSEr, my main life expenses are covered. Is it because I own a house or a car? I don't own either. PULSE provides housing and my parents have graciously provided a vehicle. Is it because I have a "real job"? As much as I am gaining experience at my current position, I'm technically a volunteer. Is it because I'm married with 2.5 children? Well goodness me. I may never be an adult if that's the criteria.

If we're looking at the fact that I can drive, buy cigarettes and lottery tickets, and legally consume alcohol then yes--I am an adult. But I can't rent a car from some places yet, and I can't run for President of the United States of America (but I am just 3 years younger than Luke was when we became for my campaign ;).

Even though I lack some of these tangible adulthood criterion, I still feel like an adult. (Especially because I just used the word "criterion" in a sentence, and I'm pretty sure I used it correctly.) The problem with these intangible ideas of adulthood is that they're much harder to quantify--and I think they're different for almost everyone.

For example. Today, I called three people whom I'd never met on the phone. Set up appointments, left voicemails, followed up. Maggie two years ago would have emailed and waited. Maggie today made phone calls (even though she was tempted to send emails and wait).

Another reason that I feel like an adult? People trust me with stuff. With money. With finding an apartment. With projects. With decisions. The simple fact that I am trusted to cook dinner for 8+ of my friends once a week still amazes me. Also, people trust me with their children. I took kids canoeing and rock climbing and drove them around in a 15 passenger van and sent them in a tube down a river.

My body now wakes me up at 7 every morning (the past two days of weird sleeping in notwithstanding).   Growing up, I couldn't FATHOM my body setting me on this regular of a schedule. Who would put themselves through the TORTURE of waking up early when they don't have to? Now, I see it as an opportunity to carpe diem and get things done.

I have a Waynesburg University Alumni sticker in the back of my car. I have a college degree and I'm using it. Adults do that kind of stuff, don't they? More importantly, I have found my passion. Some kids know it early on, some adults never find it, but for me--the fact that I know what I want to devote my life to is a pretty big deal.

Aside from these big things, there are the little things: I now take multi-vitamins and calcium supplements, use night cream on my eyes, and can actually "remember when" (for some things, anyway). I also own a mandoline. The slicer. I can slice cucumbers incredibly thin, just like every adult. Right? ;)

I think I'm an adult. I think I like it. What makes YOU an adult?

UPDATE: Another way I'm an adult? I'm growing a backbone! Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I am sort of a pushover. I've realized, though, that I am starting to stand up for myself, and stand up to others. Woot.

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