I Don't Feel Like an Adult

What do I do now that I know my parents don't know everything? Where can I find an adult who does?
01/06/2016 01:23 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2017
Woman with her kid walking in a park
Woman with her kid walking in a park

I usually look around for an adult when my son is misbehaving.

It's like I'm the babysitter waiting for the sage parents to come home and properly parent.

Then, I could go home and be properly parented by my adults.

I thought having a child would be my prerequisite for feeling like an adult.

"When I have a child, I will feel like an adult."

But I didn't. I don't.

Where are the omnipresent wisdom, the pantsuits, the financial security, maturity, self-confidence, autonomy, clear decision-making, practicality, belief that I know what the heck I'm talking about... and cocktail parties? Where have all the cocktail parties gone?

I'm living the motto "fake it 'til you make it." I'm good at simulating those adult characteristics (I rock a stellar pretend pantsuit), but when will I officially make myself into an adult? Is there a course I need to take?

I believe they need to bring Home Ec 101 back to all high schools and make both genders participate. I blame not feeling like an adult on not taking Home Ec.

I also blame being raised by a group of adults so rad they made the whole adult thing look easy. They also sheltered me from the full impact of many of life's left hooks.

(See, if I was truly an adult I wouldn't be blaming other people for the fact that I don't feel like an adult. And I wouldn't write the word "rad.")

My parents always seemed so purely adult when I was little. They had gigantic car phones, talked in hushed voices, had dinner parties, went to meetings, gave "knowing" looks, pretended like they always had the "right" advice, and were good at telling me what to do. Oh, and obviously they knew everything.

The "know everything" charade is starting to fade -- it makes me like them more, and fear life more. What do I do now that I know my parents don't know everything? Where can I find an adult who does?

I'm a little scared that I don't feel like an adult after coupling up, pinning down a career, and having a baby. I'm scared that unexpected tragedy will cripple me -- the "adults" in my life always handled that department. I'm scared that a real adult will pop his or her head into my life and tell me I'm not a proper mother. I'm scared that the world might crush me if I don't figure out how to "adult."

I'm also a little relieved that I don't feel like an adult. Being an adult always seemed a bit boring to me.

(Maybe that's the real reason my mind has resisted full-on adulthood.)

I was pleasantly surprised that the adult act of becoming a wife was not boring. Probably because my husband and I don't really act like adults -- we prank each other like prepubescent boys, divulge embarrassing insecurities like preteen girls, text like horny teenagers, and sing each other our toddler's favorite songs like Barney characters.

We're into a few of the benefits of an "adult relationship," like honesty, fidelity, having jobs, paying for shelter, grocery shopping, and sex -- but beyond that, I often feel like we're two kids living in adult bodies. Body snatchers.

Maybe no one ever feels like an adult. Maybe that's a secret blessing -- that we're all able to hold onto a piece of that childlike wonder, occasional cluelessness, silliness, dreaming, and deep respect for "real adults."

I would like to be more adult-ish in the sense of trusting my instincts and myself more, but beyond that, I'm quite content to have the sense of humor of a 13-year-old, the clothes of a 16-year-old, and the same love of Christmas as a 4-year-old. (And the perky butt of an 18-year-old, when I'm dreaming.)

Here's to being an adult while feeling like a whimsical child still trying to figure it all out.

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