There are many moments in our lives that can be defined as that step into true adulthood. For some people, it is graduation or the 18th birthday – often lumped together as they are used interchangeably. For others, it is the first job, the first serious relationship, engagement, marriage, children, etc. There is the first car purchased without cosigners, graduation from college, the first position of authority. Whatever significant moment you claim defines the step you took into adulthood, cherish it.
If you are like me – and I think a lot of you might be – there is no one defining moment that triggers a change between youth and adult. Sure, the socially acceptable milestones I mentioned before have been counted, or checked off the list, but “adulthood” is an ever changing feeling. It is fluid and the lessons we learn along the way help shape us. We have our adult responsibilities as much as we have our childish pleasures.
Hide and seek, anyone?
I paid bills, budgeted for rent, and bought groceries at sixteen. I joined the Army just after my nineteenth birthday. I bought my first car with no cosigner at 20. I had a few serious relationships. I got married. I got divorced. I went to college and graduated with a GPA that tripled my cumulative GPA in high school. I met a great man and married him – so he could not get away, naturally. We have plans for the future that will end up being more milestones in someone else’s book of adult success.
Does any one of these events, or the dozens that stem from them, define the moment I became a true, bonafide adult? No, but I will admit that there is a second during each of these things that I can hear the voice in my head saying I have done it. I am a grownup. Maybe with each life event, it becomes more and more true. As long as I do not lose my ability to laugh and have fun, I will accept what fate has given me.
Most of you have walked with me as I searched for a job and, after that continued to fail, as I attempted to go back into the Army. It seems as if I only needed one good phone call to trigger a string of good luck, or to uplift me enough to see successes where there are opportunities. I have a job interview tomorrow and I will swear into the Army National Guard on Tuesday. Along with the job front, Matt and I have begun to look into purchasing a house.
This is another one of those moments where the little voice in my head starts whispering about adulthood and responsibilities. I am surprised how easily the process is unfolding. USAA has handled everything – as they usually do for me – and set us up with an agent who is trained by them. The good thing is that they are focused on watching our needs and desires with minimal pushing to buy. The “vultures circling” feeling that is associated with a large purchase is, thankfully, absent.
We looked at a few houses on Friday and are planning on a few more next week. Is it normal to consider so many hypothetical things in a home purchase? It is just Matt and me right now, but I am seeing each room as claimed by one of our as-yet nonexistent children, I am considering the neighborhood parks and trails for the dog we do not own, I am already cursing the weeds I will have to pull to make something grow in the backyard.
If this is all part of the homebuying process, I have to admit that I am enjoying it. As someone who enjoys writing and loves a good story, this process is right up my alley. It offers me many things: learning experience and fantasy, mistakes and make believe. I loved the feeling I got when I was looking at a house and picturing our mess. I enjoyed watching his eyes light up when he saw a great kitchen. I relished walking up and down the staircase, imagining it the first trip of millions.
None of the houses we saw really jerked my heart out of my chest. There were possibilities with all of them, but none really triggered the that’s-the-one feeling I am told we are supposed to feel when we step through the door for the first time. I am patient. I am lucky enough to not have anything rushing us into the decision, although it would be great to have our own space. As this process moves forward, I look forward to everything I will think and feel.
I am more nervous about this week than I thought I would be. Job interviews are cake, and I am signing my life back to Mother Army, but it feels different. This time I have more to consider than myself. It is a small one, but I have a family. I have to make adult decisions to take care of it.
Maybe they were all steps into true and bonafide adulthood…