If there is one thing I’m truly grateful for, it’s that I am still close with my high school friends. Back in the day of Y2K and “Dance Dance Revolution,” we bonded over our AP tests while drinking on the weekends. Today, we bond over graduating from college while still drinking on the weekends. One recent night, the subject came up over marriage and kids since some of our high school friends had posted pictures of their babies on Facebook.
Great for them, not for us. We were appalled by the thought. I quickly started eating nachos at how uncomfortable the conversation just got. It was my fault, too. I brought up the subject. I was just saying that a lot can happen in a year. Life decisions happen, we take quick swerves to the left and right when two roads diverge in an open wood (“... and sadly I could not travel both”).
In fact, one of my best friends (since I’ve known since middle school) is moving to Seattle in a couple of weeks. When she got the call that she was accepted to AmeriCorps, her path in life suddenly switched, like when one of those rail conductors pulls the lever, and the tracks change. In another instance, my other friend was showing me her pretty blue shiny ring, placed ever so delicately on her ring finger by her best friend.
Wait. People getting married, having kids, moving away. These are all on my Facebook feed, and it’s freaking me out. These things happening on my Facebook feed can be likened to a solar system of my D-Day universe. Of course I am the almighty awesome sun, still struggling to keep the joy and spontaneity of my childhood intact. Everyone else is now orbiting a different field.
The line between childhood and adulthood is a blurry soup of starting a career, paying rent, paying income taxes and this strange feeling like your losing your soul. Like going through puberty in office attire.
My high school friends and I are all living through it, and things are affecting our lives every day. When historians judge our generation, the fact that we lived through one of the biggest recessions in history, Apple products and 9/11 among other events will be scrutinized. Already one of the biggest things analysts of our generation have said is that the extended debt crisis is creating a generation of people who have to move back home. At the same time a weak job market has forced many to forego adult-ish task like getting a first mortgage and starting families. Because of all this we are able to delay adult-hood just a bit longer. Sounds great right?
I’m not sure. Being a kid gets old. Even the plotlines on “Glee” are starting to get annoying. (The all I care about is ruling the school whining. Bleeping shut up already.)
Of course this type of feeling wouldn’t be plausible if I hadn’t already experienced the first signs of adulthood. I moved out on my own, purchased a car on my own and am working a full-time job. But the economy has thrown a rather huge wrench on my ephemeral independence. Rising interest rates and student loans are strangling my savings, and I have plans to move back to my parents’ house in a couple of weeks. Though I can’t wait to eat my mom’s chicken adobo again, I feel like I’m taking a step back in my development and growth, stunted back into the realm of childhood. I should be happy to relinquish some of the responsibility in my life, but I’m not.
Once you step over the thresh hold into becoming an adult, going back feels – awkward. I feel humankind (well, not all) have a propensity to want to grow, learn and take on the next step of life. It’s scary, but it’s something we have to do. From when we were babies, nature just made us start crawling, walking and eventually running towards something. As much as we want to be forever young, life happens. And we’re left struggling to figure it out.
So Awkward: The Idea of Adulthood
By Denise Guerra
Article posted on 8/17/2011
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