Are We Adults Yet?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it feels like being an adult. It crept up on me so stealthily, I had hardly noticed until a newscaster last week mentioned how “an adult male” had been apprehended doing something or other. And that the man was twenty-three. Twenty-three? Uh-oh, I thought, did I become an adult somewhere and not notice? I sure don’t feel like an adult.

(I can already hear my friends in the web’s version of the cheap seats yelling “and you sure don’t act like one either!”)

Remember elementary school? I remember the heady days in grade two at St. Mary’s Elementary, watching in awe as the grade sevens filed into the gym for an assembly. They were tall. Their voices sounded deep. They got to site on benches instead of the gym floor. And I didn’t have proof, but I was pretty sure they had hair in places I didn’t. They were adults as far as I was concerned.

On arriving in the seventh grade, I was disappointed to learn that, contrary to my earlier belief, I was not an adult. Sure I was tall, but dammit, my knees hurt from growing. My voice was deeper, but had the unfortunate tendency to switch octaves more often than Coldplay‘s frontman, Chris Martin. Those benches hurt my ass and lower back. I had confirmed that seventh graders had hair in weird places, but I sure as hell couldn’t grow a beard if my life depended on it. Sigh. Not an adult yet.

I turned my gaze forward another five years, to the grade twelve students at the local high school. They had cars. They got to pick their own classes. And I didn’t have proof, but I was pretty sure they had done some of the things described in my sex education class.

Five years later and again I experienced disappointment. Sure, I thought with pre-nest-departure artificial bravado, I could drive – but nowhere was worth driving in this hick town. My classes were alright, but not especially useful in the enabling-a-six-figure-salary-and-Porsche-in-the-driveway department. And, confirming my fears, I was definitely falling behind: not only could I still not grow a beard, but I had definitely missed having any of that casual teenage sex my seventh grade sex education class had warned me against. Sigh. Not an adult yet.

And so it the pattern repeated: university? Sigh. Not an adult yet. An employee in the workforce? Nope. Sigh. Not an adult yet. Then I turned around one day, 28, still only shaving once a week to hear some newscaster call a twenty-three year old an adult. What the hell.

Adult? I sure don’t feel like one. Will I ever?