Editor’s note: Well fancy that. It’s me, Ash, butting rrright into Jess’ post. Mostly because I want to remind anyone who’s either been in a week long booze binge, undergoing rectal surgery, or otherwise—what’s that called?—busy, this is our new Saturday column, written by our very own creative staff writer, Jessica Manuszak, and inappropriately titled, Adultery: Sure to make you cheat on your old ideas. <—Jess told me not to write that last part. But, hello, this is the Editor’s Note, and speaking of which, I demand a feather pen IMMEDIATELY.
So, you’ve gone through puberty.
You’ve had your real first kiss, (open mouth, while getting off the bus on the last day of 8th grade). You’ve received your driver’s license, probably your high school diploma, and if you managed to get your college degree, enough envelopes full of money to buy a mid-grade bottle of whiskey and cover your first month of student loan payments.
Your virginity vanished sometime when there was still a -teen on the end of your age, and you’ve managed to survive your twenty-first birthday, nerve wracking job interviews, (because WHAT IF THEY HATE YOU BECAUSE YOU TALK TOO FAST ALL THE TIME ALWAYS?!), hefty security deposits on mediocre apartments, and enough sowhenareyougettingmarrieds to shake a stick at. A long, heavy, stick that could probably draw blood if you got a good swing in.
And yet you still, still don’t always feel like a mature* adult. Or even a young adult. Or even just a dult.
*Said matewr while twirling my moustache and sipping scotch.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE. Because after holding numerous conversations, completing a hefty amount of research, and musing at my neighborhood dive bar whilst drinking gin & tonics (extra lime), there seems to be a set of (oftentimes unspoken) rules regarding what it takes to label yourself with the coveted a-word.
And I’m here to tell you why all those rules? Are COMPLETELY (and totally) WRONG.
The 10 (False)
Commandments of Adulthood
1) Being self-sufficient. Emotionally and physically.
I call bullshit, you guys. Because the last time I checked, asking for help is better for everyone involved. I did the “self-sufficient” thing. It meant years of crippling confusion, overwhelming stress, and so many pity parties (complete with cake and streamers, obviously) that I’d lost the ability to be a FUNCTIONING MEMBER OF SOCIETY. Isolation. Desperation. Depression.
And it wasn’t until I asked for help, (from a therapist, from friends I’d lost connection with, from a personal trainer, and from a random guy who ran into me that time I was The Crying Drunk Girl), that things stopped seeming bleak and happiness became a thing that I could actually have.
Do you need help? ASK FOR HELP. Because struggling alone is fucking stupid.
2) Having all the answers.
You’re never going to have the answers. You’re always going to be searching, and seeking, and learning, and growing.
And the sooner you embrace the fact that shit is whack and life is extraordinary and (sometimes) intimidating in its winding & gorgeous complexities? The sooner you can stop fretting and start living. Because having all the answers would be mind-numbingly boring. (Especially if you avidly watch Jeopardy.)
3) Doing what’s best (for everyone else.)
Your mother likes your hair long, so you haven’t cut it since that one time in your early twenties when you got that adorable pixie cut that brought out your eyes. Sometimes people don’t like your habit of endearingly calling them sugar tits or tuna flavor, so you always stick to sweetie and babe. And you want to leave a job you hate but that guy on the news keeps talking about how invaluable “job security” and 401k’s are.
You strive to be universally well-liked.
And all the while draining your precious energy, hating yourself a little, and knowing that you’re not living up to your potential. Because when you stop pleasing everyone else, you start pleasing yourself, (and not like that. Okay, maybe sometimes like that. PEOPLE HAVE NEEDS.)
4) “The day you wake up and see a man in the mirror and not a boy.”
This is a gem as spouted by a 72 year-old regular at the aforementioned dive bar who always sings Sinatra during Wednesday karaoke, so clearly, I’m all about him.
But if you wake up one day and look totally different than the day before, you need to make sure you’re not dreaming, on hallucinogens, or the victim of an elaborate kidnap-and-plastic-surgery scheme, (because those are totally things, right?)
The bottom line? You’re not going to just WAKE UP one day and be an “adult”. Mostly because you probably already are one, and you can’t be something twice. Unless it’s Halloween, because I was Harry Potter for like three years in a row
when I was seven in college.
5) You have disposable income. A lot of it.
Just because you can’t afford $100 dinners doesn’t mean you’re not a grown up. Relax.
6) You’re polite, controlled, and balanced all of the time always, forever and ever, (amen.)
You never cry a little when someone yells at you, or (GOODNESS FORBID), raise your voice back. You never laugh too loudly at coffee with a friend when she tells you about her neighbor who makes meatballs naked every Sunday morning. And you never hold eye contact too long with that fine piece of ass across the room, (or say things like fine piece of ass). Because you’re reserved. Because you’re refined. Because you’re appropriate.
Newsflash: SOMETIMES YOU FEEL THINGS, AND IT IS OKAY TO BE A WEIRDO WHO DRAWS ATTENTION TO YOURSELF. And watch naked meatballs be made. Because, hello, who doesn’t love Italian?
7) You wear heels and/or blazers, tie optional.
Look, my favorite shoes are a pair of gold glittery TOMS and I look just as good in my hip-hugging pencil skirt as the next girl. They say to dress for the job you want, and I’m going to go a step further and say you should dress for the person you want to be. And I want to be the woman who wears glitter on my feet. After all, my calves are stellar, and nothing says pay attention to my lower body quite like shiny beacons of wonderful, blinding gold.
The clothes don’t make the man (or woman). The MAN OR WOMAN MAKES THE MAN OR WOMAN. Especially if they’re sculptors, because those guys make the human form like all the time. (Bah-doon-chih).
You’re just as much of an adult with or without the cuff links.
8) You only eat things that come on gourmet crostinis, and you always know what fork to use. See also: you know what all the different bar glassware is for.
I need you to know that I’ve recently gotten really into Lean Pockets, because it’s like a MICROWAVABLE CALZONE I CAN EAT ANYTIME I WANT, YOU GUYS.
And as far as I’m concerned? If it holds the alcohol, it’s the right glassware for the occasion.
It’s worth noting that I use the term glassware loosely, because last week I found myself sipping a delicious red out of the head of a grizzled fisherman, and I can’t even offer up the token “sorry not sorry,” because I’m just not sorry in any way, shape, or form.
It was delicious, and a collins/cordial/rocks glass wouldn’t have made it any better, or me any more mature.
9) You’re married and have children. (Or are ready to be married and have children.)
You’re single and happy? Good for you! You’re in a relationship, but have no interest in marriage? Sweet! You’re married and couldn’t be happier? HOORAY! You don’t want kids? Awesome! You have seven and love them all? Also awesome! (Though I hope you sometimes make Snow White and the Seven Dwarves jokes, because obviously.)
DO YOU SEE THE PATTERN? Knowing what you want is so much more important than wanting what everyone else does.
10) You’ve found your purpose.
This isn’t a thing. You don’t find your purpose. You make a decision about what you want to do and then you just fucking do it. Because you weren’t born to be anything other than awesome.
So here’s to you, you mature motherfucker.
To growing. To learning. To finding. To exploring. To adulthood. And to thrift-store mugs. Because the only thing that actually means you’re an adult? Is the fact that you are, unabashedly, 100% yourself.
And over the age of 18.