This is scary. And strange. And surreal. I go through day-to-day life with this strange juxtaposition of my own youth next to my own maturity. It’s strange. It’s mind-boggling. Did I mention that it’s strange? Because I think that word definitely applies.
There are moments when I look at myself and think, “I’m just a kid. I’m much too young to _______.” That blank could be anything, from “run a digital strategy campaign” or “start a career” or “graduate college” or “buy a house” or…whatever. This happens when I watch TV. One of my favorite shows is “How I Met Your Mother.” I watch it and assume these people are so much older than me. Then, the realization sets in; in the early seasons of that show, the characters were pretty close in age to where I am.
Suddenly, I feel very grown up. It isn’t necessarily because they do things I don’t do. I do a lot of the things that the characters in that show do. I date, I pay bills, I go out with my friends, I have my favorite hang-outs and pass-times. It’s the fact that popular sitcoms are made about people who are pretty much my age.
Anyway, back to “reality.” These moments of slap-in-the-face realization make me stop and think. I really am an adult, and I’ll be even MORE of an adult when I graduate in June and move away to…wherever it is I’m moving to. Here are some of the signs I’ve noticed myself doing:
- You have to pass on going to the bars with friends in favor of saving money to make your car payment. Or truck payment. Or, in some cases, horse payment.
- Your shopping sprees suddenly focus on suits, modest professional skirts, and *gasp* sensible shoes.
- The gifts you ask for at Christmas and birthdays for are remarkably functional. Often, they have to do with furnishing your grown-up home. A toaster, bath towels, candles, area rugs, wall decor. Or, they are functional things that you don’t want to spend your meager fresh-out-of-college disposable income on, such as a new winter coat, running shoes, new tires…
- You pinch pennies so you can afford to send nice Christmas cards to your friends all over the U.S. — because it’s so much more personal than writing on their Facebook walls!
- When you consider housing, the ability to throw ragin’ college parties is no longer a priority. Rather, you look at whether or not garbage service comes standard and if utilities are included in rent.
- Suddenly, spending a quiet night in with your parents doesn’t seem like the end of the world.
- When you interview for a 40-hour-a-week job, the duration of employment is longer than your 3-month summer vacation.
- Once upon a time, your dream destination would have been some exotic vacation spot. Now, it’s “anywhere where the cost of living is lower than.” (At least, I know this is true for me.)
- You are starting to painstakingly groom your sleep schedule into a more “adulthood-friendly” pattern. Staying up till 3 a.m. doesn’t mesh with many “grown-up” jobs.
- You use Skype more for business calls than you do to talk to friends.
- You have been late to class because of a conference call.
- There’s something thrilling about finding the best gas price in the region.
- You suddenly pay more attention to your LinkedIn requests than your Facebook requests.
- Sleep isn’t something you just catch up on each Sunday, as was once the case. Now it’s something that you enjoy getting as regularly as possible.
- Living with your parents over break no longer feels like a “free ride” and feels more like a form of regression.
- Once upon a time, you traded Pokemon cards. Now, you trade business cards.
- You realize that, just like you have trouble imagining your parents in high school, your younger relatives have trouble imagining you as anything but an adult.
- You watch reruns of your favorites childhood cartoons and you catch yourself calling them “classics.”
- Any children you may know right now, might consider your childhood music to be the newest generation of oldies.
- You see fashions from earlier decades recycling through pop-culture, and you’re reminded of why you’re happy or sad that that era of clothing culture ended (or ever existed).
Do any of these seem familiar to you? Even if you’re beyond the transitional stage of “growing up,” do any of these remind you of your early adulthood? Share your stories, compare notes. I want to make sure I’m on the only 20-something who’s starting to feel old at times!