Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 42 of 365: Being an Adult

The house party was quite the success. My husband and I were running about, trying to get everything ready in time. To give you an idea as to how down to the wire we were: this morning, we were installing the doors that we had spent the last month repainting -- right before installing the last of the window treatments in our den. We honestly considered just prepping for the party relaxing. Well, kind of relaxing. Nothing is as stressful as constantly realizing that you are missing items for a certain meal, forcing you to speed over to the nearest grocery store.

We gave family and friends tours of the house (with me reflecting on the new colors and my husband reflecting on all the cables and wires he ran), we had a barbecue with a smidge of Asian fusion food (my husband makes a mean fried rice), we got our fire pit up and running (with a foundation we dug up and prepared in only a day). We even ended the day with fireworks and s'mores -- both of which shaved an equal amount of time off my life. And, like proper introverts, we collapsed on our bed at the end of the day and cherished the idea of having Sunday all to ourselves. All in all, a successful day.

I'm always amazed at the events in my life. Not because they happen, but because I'm magically somehow old enough to have these events happen. I remember being calm as a cucumber about graduating college, but losing my mind over the idea that I was old enough to graduate in the first place. The concept of marrying my now-husband seemed as right as rain, but I could never wrap my mind around the fact that I had somehow become old enough where marriage wasn't an anomaly. With our house, while it feels right to be in the living room, to sleep in our bedroom, to do all the household stuff that makes a house a home, I'm still blown away by the idea that owning a house at my age is downright normal.

If there is anything I've learned about aging, it's that you never get used to it. I know people in their 50s who are amazed by the fact that they're 50. They'll joke that they'll come out of the shower and look in the mirror and swear they're seeing their grandpa or grandma before realizing it's their own reflection. There is a certain incredulity that comes with growing older. You never really wake up and realize you're an adult; you simply look around at what everyone else is doing and realize that you better start pretending as well.

In some way, I guess it's better to be amazed at your age. I would rather be the 65-year-old who still goes in crazy adventures because she doesn't feel a day over 30 than the 65-year-old who feels exactly her age, if not older.

I still don't know how I became an adult. One minute I'm a freshman in college, remarking on how "adult" it is to be in college; the next, I'm being regarded as an actual adult. It boggled my mind that, during my 8-month stint as a substitute teacher, I had a group of 8th graders actually regarding me as an adult. I couldn't believe that, for the most part, these kids (who really didn't feel that much younger than me) were listening to what I was saying. That is, until I remembered that a good chunk of my teachers in high school were between the ages of 24 and 28 when I had them -- and they were very much adults in my eyes. Suddenly, I'm closing in on 27 and I still feel as much as a kid as those 8th graders.

And then a few days ago, as I was brushing my teeth, I found myself looking at my reflection. Not gazing, not staring -- just looking. For a few fleeting seconds, I saw an adult. Not a kid pretending to be an adult. Not a college student hoping to pass as an adult. But an actual adult. Someone who actually looks on the verge of 27. Someone whose growth and maturity has settled in nicely across her skin. Someone whose eyes reflected back a more complete view of the world and life. I barely recognized her, but I recognized that this might be how others see me. Especially the former 8th graders at my old school.

A few days ago, we had someone on their motorcycle zip by the house. We live at the end of a cul de sac in a small town, so traffic by our house is pretty rare. We looked up from the front yard to see this old lady, possibly in her 70s, hugging the turn of the road before returning back up the street. My husband turned to me and said, "That's going to be you, someday." I smiled and replied, "One can only hope." Because I can guarantee you that, for all of the years under that woman's belt, she probably feels decades younger than she actually is.

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