Thursday 13: Feeling like a grown-up

I’ve been called an “old soul” and I joke (half seriously) that I was born middle-aged. My cultural references tend to be a bit skewed because my very favorite movies are from the 40s, my favorite music is from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and I have no idea what my students today watch on TV. That said, there are still moment when grown-upness, in a real sense, hits me. Here is a Thursday 13 collection.
I felt like a grown-up when…
1. Getting my first apartment. I set up my first apartment in Portland, Ore. for a summer internship. Apartments, U-hauls, furniture, leases, navigating a big city, responsibility. After living alone, it was SO hard to come back and work in the dorms for a final year.
2. I established good credit. Regarding number 1, my credit was so good, I didn’t have to pay a deposit for utilities. Being 20 and a new renter, and not needing a co-signer was exciting.
3. Shopping for groceries for the first time in Ukiah. I remember my parents leaving after having moved me out from Sacramento, and going to Safeway. The feeling of “I can buy whatever I damn well please” made me feel sooooo independent. Funny how toilet paper and produce can do that to you.
4. Starting my retirement contributions at age 21. My first non-salon job was as an administrative assistant for a financial planner. Although I worked for him for less than three weeks before miraculously (seriously, it was an actual miracle) being swept off to Lincoln, NE for college, his advice stuck with me. Start investing in yourself in your early 20s, be a millionaire by the time you retire. Now, given our recent economic times, that’s less of a guarantee I think, but I’m still lined up to be a millionaire… one retirement penny at a time.
5. Sorting out my first adult accidents. Like getting side-swiped in Portland over a holiday weekend or, um, rolling my Civic in Ukiah. Nothing like battling it out with insurance companies to make you feel utterly adult.
6. I got married. Not really the marriage part–that feels like a natural extension of life rather than a “grown up” event–but the paperwork parts. The I’m a dependent again (ugh!) and he’s a beneficiary and there are all sorts of legal documents in my life now. (When people call me “Mrs,” I don’t feel grown-up, I just feel OLD.)
7. Buying a car. The hassle, the bargaining, the contracts, the LOAN PAYMENTS. Oh car payment, thou art the epitome of ugly adulthood.
8. Buying tires. Irritating but necessary, buying tires is one of those responsible tasks that makes me feel grown-up. (And sad, they are so damned expensive)
9. Eating right. The other day my status on Facebook was: “Shawna Malvini Redden chose a Cliff Bar over peanut M&Ms for breakfast. If that isn’t adulthood, I don’t know what is.” Now don’t get me wrong, I totally had the peanut M&Ms as a lunch appetizer. I’m not completely virtuous here.
10. Living and loving long distance. The least happy thing on the list is this long-distance business T and I are dealing with currently. I could describe it in a zillion different ways, but the goal-oriented component feels very adult. The patience required and the constant separation and the conscientiously planning to meet particular goals feels quite grown up. (And quite icky if we’re being honest!)
11. My friends started making kidlets. Not only are my friends making beautiful babes, some of those mini-mes are walking and TALKING now. I feel grown-up by proxy when I think of my nearest and dearest being responsible for and keeping little humans alive. Yay you people!
12. Presenting at conferences. Although we’re not talking throngs of people, the experience of presenting my work at professional conferences is a surreal, grown-up endeavor. Deep breaths, the next one is in November!
13. Being in the black. As T and I discussed the co-mingling of finances pre-marriage, his concerns about our (okay, my) level of debt were clear: ICK! Color us both surprised that my assets and savings outweighed my ridiculous quantity of student loans! Yours truly is apparently not in the red. That little discovery was the pinnacle of grown-upness for me last year… As T said, “You’re no longer a drain on society.” Yay me! Let’s hope it can stay that way throughout the rest of this school adventure!

P/S If I could add a 14th- I’d say renting a car. The shine has worn off now, but first being able to rent a car without the additional crazy fees was pretty cool.

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