When did you know you were grown up?
I heard this question on the radio this morning. The concept of “adulting” has been popular lately. As in, paying bills, cooking dinner, going to work, etc. The regular stuff of life once you hit a certain phase.
The two DJs talked about it, when they first knew they had grown up.
“I knew when I got a new washer and dryer and I was over the moon,” the female DJ gushed. “Now I want to get a new refrigerator.”
Totally understand that. Because I’m an adult now.
“I knew when I bought my first car. I got an ’88 Dodge Charger. I bought it for $10,000. That was based on the money I was making at the time,” the male DJ chimed in.
I started thinking about it for myself. You’d think it would be when I went off to college. I left home to live in a dorm in California. I found odd jobs to support my laundry habit. But that wasn’t it. You’d think it would be when I signed on the dotted line for my school loans. But paying those off was years away. I’d think about that tomorrow. You’d think it was when Jonathon and I got engaged. Nope. Still had another year of college to go. College and dorm life can insulate you from the real world. Was it when I got my first car, a 1974 orange VW beetle? No. Car maintenance and insurance didn’t do it, either.
I don’t think I felt like an adult until we moved out and got our first apartment after we got married. We paid rent. I commuted to my job in downtown Portland, a real job with an engineering firm. Jonathon worked as a caterer for Tektronix, may it rest in peace. I felt the weight of working and supporting ourselves, paying utilities and buying groceries. We had to plan a bit more.
I did an informal poll of some of my nearest and dearest. When did you feel like a grown up? One friend said when he had to have back surgery. That made him feel old. Jonathon says he still feels like a kid most days. My new co-worker, F., said she got her first job at age 12. She worked in a factory making plastic kite string holders. She poured plastic into the molds, cleaned them up and put them in a box.
What about you? Was it when you had your first child, and you looked down into that trusting face and realized you held the well-being of another, completely helpless human being in your hands? Was it when you got your paper route? Maybe you saved money to earn a bicycle of your own.
Perhaps you still don’t feel like an adult, despite having a mortgage and many decades under your belt. Rest assured, young’ un. Your time will come.