I have an admission, readers: I am a fake. A giant phony.
For the last 12 years I have been masquerading around as “an adult,” doing adult-ish things like paying my bills and voting and occasionally listening to the adult contemporary radio station. (Shut up. Sometimes you just have a hankering for Adele.) And, except for the keenly insightful among you, you probably bought it.
The truth is, I have no idea what I’m doing. None. I feel like I am still in that post-college haze, aping what my approximation of what “grown up” looks like during the day — skirts and sensible shoes and Tupperware containers filled with leftovers — but at night, à la Batman, the real Erin comes out. I continue to make up life as it comes, eating cottage cheese and carrots for supper if the mood strikes; having staring contests with my fiance, Drew, until we break into fits of giggles; using binder clips to secure my ponytail if I can’t find a hair tie. I ran out of napkins the other week, so I folded a Frosty the Snowman dish towel in my lap.
This does not strike me as the work of a true adult.
Drew and I are about to close on our first home, meaning I will be an honest-to-goodness homeowner soon, meaning I will own actual property, with taxes and repairs and a roof and, I hope, working plumbing.
Is this the minute when I really become an adult?
I thought I would “arrive” when I made my final payment on my very own car. Or when I bought my first kitchen table. Or when I successfully figured out when to use “farther” and when to use “further.”
All those moments have all come and gone, and what I’ve been left with is a pretty sweet Dodge named Celine Neon and a kitchen table covered with crumbs and place mats that could use a good washing.
I still have no idea whether it’s further or farther.
Yet somehow, somewhere, the powers that be are letting me get married in a few months — and one day, we hope to create tiny children, which made me wonder: Do you think my parents had no clue what they were doing and just faked it till they made it?
Something tells me that my mom still has no idea how to do it all “correctly.” She made a lewd joke at my grandmother’s funeral, never takes off her plastic watch meant for SCUBA diving and recently painted the entire interior of her house varying shades of orange.
Yet she remains the most wild, beautiful, free-spirited, curious-about-the-world person I know. And I think, despite being a real live grown-up, she would tell you she still makes it up as she goes along.
So, I suppose even though I will soon own a home, I couldn’t be farther — or is it further? — from truly owning my adulthood if I tried.
Either way, I’m OK with it.
— Erin Shultz