Hi Darling Ones,
Sometime in the recent past, which could mean anytime between March 20, 2020 and yesterday, I read a tweet from someone carping about adulthood. Specifically this person was complaining about how if you have a mortgage and pay your utilities you cannot complain about being bad at adulting.
I wish I could remember who tweeted this. My guess is it was someone who was in the gifted program as a child and now has self-diagnosed ADD and suffers with anxiety.*
That is a complaint for the footnotes. What I really came here to talk about is being an adult and how I’m 98% sure everyone thinks they are bad at it and none of us are entirely sure what it means.
By all relevant markers I am a full-assed, responsible adult. I’m nearing fifty. I haven’t gotten taller since the mid-90s. I have a mortgage that I pay on the reg with the money I earn working. All my bills are paid in full on time, for the most part. There was that blip in November where I forgot to pay everything and I blame that on November being a crappy month and not on me.
If the appearance of financial stability is how being good at adulting is measured, then I measure up. However, this is America and I’m one medical incident away from being bankrupt. So that’s fun. Maybe recognizing that fact makes me good at adulting?
How else do we define adulthood? I keep wracking my brain for other examples outside of financial independence, and so much of what I think of — being able to work steadily, having the capacity to feed, bathe, and clothe myself, fulfilling hobbies, etc — seem to have more to do with the double-blessings of good mental health & lack of addiction problems.
Is a steady and healthy romantic relationship a marker of adulthood? What about the ability to commit to a person, office job, what you want in life? If any of those count, I get a big, fat fail.
What I wish I had said to that mysterious, forgotten tweeter in the moment is that as far as I can tell adulthood just happens while you’re trying to make it through another day. If you asked me how to buy a house, refinance your mortgage, or work as a freelancer, I’d be all, “I don’t fucking know.” Because I don’t. I’m sure I googled these things and then magic happened.
A lot of times things just happen and keep happening and the next thing you know you have a house, a 12-year freelance career, and you’re fucking fifty and BOOM a real-deal certifiable adult, I guess?
I know I seem like a real adult and I play one well on the Internet, but I went to bed early last night with a stomachache from eating too many cookies. The fact that I didn’t say tummy ache. . . maybe that’s what makes me adulty?
Also, I’m an actual, factual grown-up and the number of records that have come to my house recently is a little embarrassing. I’m like a 9th grader with a dishwashing job & zero plans for retirement all over again, only now I have grown-up money.
Does spending all my disposable income on books and records make me a bad adult? Are these childish things?
Is blogging about it childish?
And what’s so bad about being good at adulthood? It’s kinda nice over here. Does that make me a square? Does that fact that I don’t care make me square? Does using the term square factor into any of this? Who makes the rules around here?
Eagerly awaiting a sweet, autographed copy of “Lucinda Williams” on red vinyl that I bought myself as a treat for redesigning PaulWesterberg.net like a goddamn adult,
*I’m pretty sure every single person on social media, sans me, was in the gifted program as a child. Every time someone tweets about it all the people gotta retweet and say, “I feel personally attacked.” Well, I do feel personally attacked because I was not in the gifted program in school, which was called High Potential at University Avenue Elementary in the 80s. They do the same thing with ADD now. Everyone’s got that too. It’s like when all the people suddenly wanted to be introverts in like 2018. Annoying.
Sister #2, the tenured professor with the PhD who was so far away from our elementary school’s gifted program she didn’t even know we had one or what it was called, tried to ease my bitterness about my childhood ungifted status by explaining that all the kids got to be gifted at one point because gifted programs counted as special education and thus schools got more money for it. This made me feel moderately better, but I am still bitter.