Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

In Leman’s Terms: Semi-Adulthood

It’s been one issue, and I’m already behind schedule. I planned on publishing an article weekly, but it’s been eight days since my first column. I would say that’s what happens when adulthood hits you, but it’s become increasingly clear that, despite the evidence, I am not an adult.
Let me explain: I live in a house. While I haven’t technically started, I will pay rent. I work an 8-5 job plus an internship where I have a cubicle and wear dress pants. I have my own refrigerator with my actual food in it, including salad mix. But I also sleep on an air mattress. On Monday, I wore a baseball cap and a t-shirt I got for free to work, and about 50% of the money I’ve spent in June was on fast food just because I didn’t want to cook for myself.
My existence has landed in this off-putting middle ground where I am simultaneously both an adult and a child.
Perhaps it’s my mindset that puts me in this position. Just yesterday, a 13 year-old said to me, “I’m a teenager,” and my immediate response was to say “same” before I realized, Oh shoot, I’m 20. I remember my 20th birthday and all the you-beat-teen-pregnancy jokes my friends made, and I certainly remember the continual countdown I have towards my 21st (this is the longest year of my life), but I still somehow find myself relating to the angst and emotions of teenage life. In my head, I am a kid, now I just get a lot more emails.
Yet, I do have a savings account and a budgeting app (still up in the air on whether or not it’s helping), so the AdultTM label does seem to also fit. I have a shopping list for the weekend, for goodness sake. How many 15 year-olds have a plan for what they’re going to buy at a grocery store? For that matter, how many 15 year-olds shop at a grocery store?
The real question I’m getting at isn’t whether or not I am an adult, but when will I start to feel like one? Does this semi-adulthood suspension end when I can legally buy and drink alcohol, when I graduate college or when I finally figure out how to do my own taxes? Maybe it just depends on how you define adulthood. If I asked a kindergartener, they’d shrug and say “yeah, she’s a grown-up” before going back to their plastic kitchens and Legos. I recognize the possibility that there isn’t a milestone you pass that makes you believe you’re an adult. It’s not like you’ll cross the threshold on your first day of your first job post-graduation and a stamp flies out of nowhere branding the word “ADULT” on your forehead. Perhaps it’s just a matter of telling yourself every day when you wake up that even if you sleep in owl pajamas, the food you make in your kitchen is actually edible and not stuff you have to pretend to swallow to make a 5 year-old smile.
I don’t have a car, my house doesn’t yet have WiFi, I eat cereal for dinner and I’ve set off my smoke detector on two separate occasions by making chicken nuggets, but I am voting member of society with opinions and a tea collection, and adulthood’s not worth it if I can’t have both.

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    WhitJun 19, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    I appreciate and completely agree with your last paragraph. Why be an adult if you can’t choose to also let your inner kid out?

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In Leman’s Terms: Semi-Adulthood