“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!”
1. Our biological clocks seem to be thumping even louder, even faster, becoming even more obvious by slapping us in the face when all we want to do is sit around on the couch, spraying nacho cheese out of a can into our mouths, contemplating what we can do with our degree in philosophy, and how we can rummage together enough ‘dough’ to pick up and travel around Thailand for a month. But really, we know we need to be on a treadmill, worrying about things like cholesterol, electric bills or the outcome of something with an obnoxious name like ‘sequester’.
2. We can’t get away with nearly as many unhealthy things as we used to like supersizing our order at McDonalds, wearing wrinkled tops to work, and begging our darling bosses, as if they were our teachers, for extra credit because we screwed up on a report for a client.
3. Letting go feels peculiar. We start to shed away a big portion of what was attached to us (except for body fat, thank you slowed down metabolism). We used to be the proud owners of a whole lot of stuff, but now we move around more, we misplace boxes of hand-me-downs, friends that we were once tied together with by pieces of lanyard and endless sleepovers. All because there’s not enough time and there’s never enough space.
4. Being a grown up is absolutely exhausting. Paying bills, engaging in an obsessive love affair with our work email, dating—don’t even get me started on dating. Wrestling with responsibilities make for Friday nights spent sandwiched between the cushions of your living room couch, fighting off the woes of the week by downing pints of almond milk, eating low-fat muffins, and watching Shark Tank, all while wondering how the heck these people have the time, the money, the energy to create these zany inventions.
5. We still don’t know what we want to be when we grow up. When asked on job interviews, where do you see yourself in 5 years? I still find myself saying, Famous. Maybe I should start saying, in five years, I hope to have a better answer to that daunting question.
6. It’s no longer okay to be scared of strangers. When they offer us free candy or a sample of Greek yogurt in Union Square, we take it, because we’re hungry. When they offer to introduce us to a top executive at an agency we’ve been trying to land our dream job at, we take it, because still, we’re hungry.
7. You fall in love with strangers. People who you’re not predisposed to love because they fall into the “family” category. Gorgeous, exotic, chaotic love with strangers. Scientists even estimate that you’ll fall in love 7 times before you get married! Which also, by default, will mean your heart will be brutally shattered 6 times, before what’s left is molded together to another one, hopefully for life. That alone is enough to give me heart palpitations and a crown of gray hair.
8. Our perception of “home” becomes all mangled. Your parents move out of your childhood home and into a little hut in Key West. You’ll visit, cozy up to a guest bedroom, and gradually begin to give away, to throw away, all the parts of your childhood they boxed up and bubble wrapped for you while you were away being a grown up in New York.
9. We become less relevant, out of style. My mommy used to brag to me about how when she was growing up, all they had was a radio, and that’s all they needed. Now, I get into staring contests with 11-year-olds dressed like Miley Cyrus (pre-haircut), who bluntly spit out to me that I need to get with the times because my IPhone 3G is so 2010.
10. There’s pressure to become someone great. A famous writer, a CEO, a parent. I’m 25-years-old and consider ketchup to be my primary vegetable, I’m not ready to become child bearing. To do ludicrous things like breast feed and clean up poop that’s squirting out of my kin’s butt.
11. We will start to spend most of our time working for a paycheck. Living behind a keyboard whose cracks are filled with crumbs and mascara stained tears.
12. Our choices are more heavily weighted. The person we’re dating, the job we’ve been working at for years, the color we paint our nails, what we eat for lunch, who we vote for in the Presidential election, the kind of health insurance we pick (I’ll stop now before you, too, start to feel your heart pop out of your chest).
13. You were once known as the magnificent little girl, who roamed around as free as daffodils blowing in the wind, who nonchalantly changed her major, her life goals, as much as she changed her underwear. Now, you’re as boringly defined by your strategically crafted headline on your LinkedIn profile.