A few months ago I found myself on Facebook checking up on what former life’s acquaintances were doing with themselves. Facebook stalking is a skill that my generation has elevated to an art form.
The great thing is this stealth stalking happens without a trace, unless you happen to be cursed and accidentally “like” a post from three years ago… at which point you hurriedly hit the unlike button all the while hoping and praying that notifications were not sent to anyone involved. Usually my particular acquaintances relieve me of the dangerous pastime of Facebook stalking and post their status messages in big, bold letters on my newsfeed where it is impossible to ignore them. Then one day I saw a Facebook post that pushed me over the edge.
Brand new mother Elaine, overcome by the joy of nursing her newborn, was gushing about babies and how having a baby is the true earmark of being an adult.
My first reaction was amusement. Having a baby does not necessarily mean you are a fully functioning adult. It just means that, whether on purpose or not, you didn’t use birth control and nine months later have a baby to show for it. Teenage girls can do this, and since the government doesn’t use this as a metric for granting them the age to vote, I don’t believe it is a very good way to judge the maturity of an entire generation. I know a great many people who are married and still aren’t fully functioning adults. No, the true earmarks of adulthood are less noticable, and often pass us by in a blur. So here are five signs for you to keep in mind as you careen down the road to adulthood, maturity, and the magical age of seventy and a half.
1. A Sturdy Retirement Account
Nothing so clearly spells adult as taking money that you would have spent God only knows how and funneling it into an account you won’t be able to touch until you’re in your seventies. Since children won’t be on the horizon for some time yet, I have named my retirement fund George, who will hopefully be just as steady and reliable as his name implies and be able to take care of me when I’m in my dotage.
In many ways George is more reliable than having a child, because I know I’ll never have to worry about those trying teenage years when I spend many sleepless nights worrying about whether he is making dubious life choices with a girl named Kimberly who has more tongue piercings than I ever thought possible. Instead I am hoping he follows in the footsteps of the Royal Prince George, who presumably will make stellar decisions in life, since his parents are pretty much perfection personified.
I count it a good day if I am in bed with my iPad watching Scandal by nine thirty. I’m not sure when I decided that sleep was my friend. It was my sworn enemy for much of my childhood. I distinctly remember being four years old and telling my mother that I simply could not bring myself to take another nap again. I remember even more clearly my shock when she listened and stopped trying to make me take naps. Twenty some years later, I berate myself for ever being so stupid as to dismiss what may be one of life’s greatest pleasures. If you ask me what I’m doing this weekend, I will rattle off numerous engagements involving brunch, friends, and errands. These are all lies, because what the perfect Saturday afternoon includes a three hour nap on the couch with the cat, a brief break for dinner and then bed by ten.
3. Eye cream
Last week I bought my first container of eye cream. I was forced into this by my roommate who said I should have been doing this from age eighteen. A girl in her twenties doesn’t like to think about the possibility of wrinkles.
In the back of our heads there is always the niggling thought that perhaps we will be like Dorian Grey, only without the freaky picture hidden in the closet. Confronted by the possibility I did what any girl would do, and rushed into Sephora where I stood in the eye cream aisle looking extremely lost. A Sephora guy came over and tried to tell me to use the fancy television touch screen to solve my eye problems, but since I didn’t know what my eye problems really were other than the guilt of the past nine years of negligence, this was really of no help to me.
Really, how is one to choose one problem when the options include puffy bags, fine lines, and redness? Suddenly they all seemed to be equally pressing needs. Seeing my confusion and despair, he found my favorite Sephora lady who has talked me through purple eyeshadow, liquid eyeliner, and mattifying powders over the past several years. She led me to a magical pink bottle and proclaimed that this was the only one for me. She also said not to worry and gave me a hug, both of which made me feel much better than the Sephora TV.
When you’re an adult, you are the one responsible for the dishes, and so at all times are looking for ways to avoid dirtying more dishes than you absolutely must. I am the queen of the one pot dinner, using one glass as I transition between water to juice to gin with juice, and washing dishes as I bake lest I become Robin Williams’ character from Good Will Hunting. Or one of the girls from Grey Gardens, which judging from my jewelry collection, the cat, and my love of mixing alcohol with juice, will happen in about six months from now.
From an early age I knew that as soon as I had my own furniture I would jump on them as often I pleased. Now I become offended if someone I don’t like so much as sits on my beloved couch, let alone allowing their shoes to come within an inch of the upholstery. When I bought my first end table, and after one night of witnessing the very real danger of cold and hot beverages resting on the unprotected finish, bought my first set of coasters. They’re adorable, and I now follow my visitors around with them, smiling as I discreetly slip them under glasses, mugs, and anything else which may threaten the finish of my beloved table.
(Originally posted on The Penny Ledger)