According to the law, I reached adulthood on my 18th birthday. Perhaps I even felt like an adult that day. I’m pretty sure I felt I had the world figured out and knew my place in it. With every year that passed after, I realized I don’t know anything at all. All the sureties, all the expectations-unrealized. I used to have this idea that making the wrong decision would lead me down a more interesting path therefore giving me a deeper understanding of the world. Now I know I was just stupid. No need to CHOOSE the difficult, life is hard enough as it is.
I felt adult enough at 15 years old to move out of my family’s home. I forewent an education and opted for the workforce instead. I suppose I proved a certain maturity by being able to do this but really I was a psychological wreck. It was far too much, way too soon. I made bad choices, one after the next, which should have been enough to make me realize I was NOT an adult and I was in over my head. But oh no, not me, I stuck with it and threw away any potential I had to be someone. I have a ridiculous determination to see even the most detrimental decision through to the end.
At 25 years of age I was living on my own, without roommates, for the first time. I felt like, finally, I was able to care for myself and my things in a proper adult fashion. I went to work everyday (even working two jobs for a short while), hit the gym, had a cat, went out with friends….drank, stayed out till all hours, got minimal sleep. Ok, so maybe not the most “adult” lifestyle but I was happy…so I thought. A few particularly rough nights forced me to make a change in my life. I quit going out to the bars every night, I spent much more time alone, I went to the park for a walk instead of on the porch for a smoke. I was feeling great. That’s when I started realizing I wanted something different from life, something more. I wanted love, a baby, yes the clock was ticking and I was ready. I was an adult and it was time to start behaving like one.
About this time, I met my husband-to-be. Online. I know I know. Crazy, right? The most insane part about it was that he was in Italy and I was in America. We met on MySpace through this random friend request application that sent out requests to everyone in the world all willy-nilly. I got one from him and replied. Computer Love….I sold everything I had in a series of yard sales, quit my job, left my apartment and told my family to wish me luck! I was outta’ there on a flight to Rome, I was in love dammit and no one could stop me! How very “adult” of me. Pfft.
We got married, in Hawaii, it was gorgeous. We got married (again) in Italy with both our families present…also gorgeous. We made several flights back and forth between Italy and America trying to find out where we really wanted to live. Our last trip to Italy brought us a little surprise. Two weeks after we arrived we found out I was pregnant. I gotta’ say, I’ve never felt like such a little girl in my whole life. Scared to tears, I was. Alone in this foreign country, with foreign ways of going through pregnancy, foreign doctors, foreign delivery, me the foreigner…God help me! I prayed.
Delivery was a beast, no pain relief. Yay Italy. Savages. I don’t know how “adult” I felt but I sure as hell felt ALL WOMAN. Childbirth is not for wusses but hey even if you are, you’ve got no choice, that baby’s coming out. I’d never been so panicked in all my life those first few months afterward. I was so incapable of performing my duties as wife and mother. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, look after my family. Now, 20 months later, I feel confident. I know what I can and can’t do in a day and I don’t push it. I’m taking better care of myself now that my little stinker is old enough to entertain herself for short periods. I surprise myself with my growing cooking ability. I’m managing my life. I finally feel ADULT. I don’t think it takes being a parent to be a grown-up but it’s what prioritized my life in a way that’s responsible, giving, open, and patient.
I still feel like a “girl” and not a “woman” and I’m not sure if that’ll ever change. I’m always me, to me, not an age or a period of time. I’ve not outgrown the little kid I always was. I dance, sing, act silly, pout, play with my hair and make-up, dress-up, get scared, cry and feel insecure. But that’s just me. The Adult. Haha, what a joke!