Growing up, I didn’t know what adulthood would be like. I assumed it would have something to do with doing whatever the fuck I felt like doing, like eating cake for breakfast or staying up all night reading a book or watching a movie. LIFE ON MY TERMS, DAMMIT, that’s about all I knew about adulthood.
Somehow it crept on me though. I don’t remember it happening, the whole adulthood thing. But, here I am, an adult. I pay bills and drive a car I bought and paid for and sometimes I even eat cake for breakfast. I’m 33, inching my way into my mid-30s, but still, I don’t know when the adult thing happened.
Was it when I got married or when I got divorced? Did it have anything do with buying a house, getting my first credit card or having a car payment? Was it when I graduated high school, college or some other Army-related course? Or was it the Army? Did that knock me into adulthood? Was it when I stopped being able to sleep past 8 a.m. or when I started going to the gym? Does it have anything to do with my willingness to eat kale, Brussel sprouts and quinoa? Or was it when I got my job? Was that it, or was it when I started giving fewer fucks about the things that used to make my palms sweat, my skin crawl and my heart slam dance itself against my rib cage?
Maybe (probably) it was all of that and none of it, too.
I used to think there was a list that led us toward adulthood. Go to college, get a dog, get married, buy a house, have a baby, join the PTA, buy a bigger house, have another baby, etc. And I know for some people that is adulthood, but it’s not my adulthood. But my adulthood looks nothing like that.
Sometimes, in my adulthood, I ask my robot, Alexa, to put on the saddest songs she can find. I ask her to turn up the volume before pouring myself a glass of wine and having a dance party in my living room, mostly just singing to myself, the dogs and sometimes the cat. It’s like therapy, only with wine and a robot.
I eat popcorn for dinner at least once a week. I put cheese on it. Not bullshit parmesan from a green tube, but little pieces I slice from my brick-sized cheddar I bought at Costco. Popcorn with the cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of garlic and that’s it. The most winning-est adult dinner I’ve ever made.
I’ve got two dogs, Luke and Sadie, and they are senior dogs who behave like children, which is perfect. They shed nonstop and sometimes I don’t vacuum as often as I should. My clothes and car are almost always covered in fur, but those fluffs are two of my best friends.
Sometimes I am lazy and don’t feel like emptying the dishwasher. Instead, I just keep piling dishes into the sink until I can’t take it anymore and force myself to empty the dishwasher, only to generate a full load with the pile I’ve been building in the sink and the cycle starts all over again. I do the same thing with laundry.
I can almost always create a top-notch cheese plate from the snacks in my fridge but chances are good I’ll be out of some kitchen staples, like eggs or butter. I’ve got olives though, and at least two kinds of cheese and probably also an assortment of cured meats.
Spider crickets live in my basement, where my washer and dryer are. They only come out at night so I don’t go into the basement at night. They are terrifying and disgusting and they leap and one time one fell on me and it was awful. Also, fuck it, I’m an adult who does not have to do laundry when it is dark outside.
My cat who hates everyone and everything, except for boxes. I harass her a lot, mostly because it’s funny, but I also always leave empty boxes out for her enjoyment.
I host Thanksgiving at my house for friends and adopted family and it’s a tradition that’s been going strong for as long as I’ve lived in my house. It is one of my favorite things.
Sometimes I get through my to-do list for the day and sometimes I struggle to mark off a single thing. I drink a lot of water, but I also drink a lot of beer and wine, but am much better at moderation now than I was ten years ago. I have a short attention span, my default setting is mean and I still hate Christmas. My plants don’t get watered as often they should, but they’re still alive. I don’t ever watch live TV anymore, but I do listen to podcasts while I clean the house and sometimes I talk to the dogs about it, especially if it’s a true crime podcast. One of my toenails is fucked from running and it is ugly and gross and I’m pretending it’s fine because sometimes that’s how I handle things.
This is not the life that little me imagined. This isn’t what I thought adulthood would be like, not entirely, but mostly, I like it. It works.