I Guess I’m an Adult Now, Or Something Like That

When I was touring colleges my junior year of high school, I was, amusingly enough, offered a kids’ menu at lunch and a wine menu at dinner within the same day.  That sort of epitomizes the past three to four years of my existence: am I a kid, or am I grown up?  I suspect I will continue to feel that way at least until I finish school.  I suppose I’m not really a kid anymore, but at the same time, I’m still a little weirded out when people treat me as an adult (Since when am I “ma’am”?  And since when do adults introduce themselves to me by their first names?).

Over last Christmas break I had coffee with a lady I know from church–well, two churches, to be precise.  We both went to the same church before I switched during senior year; when I came back from college over one of the breaks last year, it turned out that their family had also changed to the same church that I attend.  She’s always seemed like a really nice person with a solid family, but I hadn’t really had the chance to talk to her outside the obligatory “hello” during the passing of the peace or brief interactions while we were both helping with VBS at our old church.

I’m glad we had the conversation we did, in part because I felt that it further justified my leaving our old church.  (I have never regretted that decision, but it’s always nice to know that someone else agrees.)  Mostly, though, I just enjoy talking to adults, who, unsurprisingly, are rather in short supply while in college.  It was interesting, though, because I felt like she took interest in me as a young person, but also treated me with some level of respect that I’m not used to receiving from adults.  The majority of my adult friends knew me as coaches/teachers, or knew me when I was (at least legally) still a kid, or have kids my age, or know my mother well, and therefore still see me as a kid–which, by the way, is totally fine with me, because that’s how I see myself.  In this case, I (and my mother) have only known this person for about three or four years in a distinctly hello-how-are-you sort of way and her kids are significantly younger than me, so in a weird sense, I think these factors may influence how she sees me.  Honestly, I’m just stabbing at the wind and quite possibly reading into  things too much, though it’s still an interesting thought.

All this leads me to the question: What does it mean to be grown up?  Not to live at home?  That disqualifies a lot of people who have “moved back in”.  To be done with college?  A lot of grad students I know think of themselves as “kids”.  To work full time at a “real” job?  To have kids?  To be completely done with your education?  To be able to rent a car?  Do some people never grow up?  If so, is that good, bad, or neither?  I don’t know.

A quite prescient remark from my school's Yik Yak feed.

A quite prescient remark from my school’s Yik Yak feed.

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The End

It’s been a crazy past week.

Three days of seven straight hours of senior projects.  (What I thought would be) my last track meet ever.  Last day of school.  American Idiot: The Musical.  Senior breakfast.  Graduation rehearsal.  Evening of honors.  Graduation.  Three graduation parties.  Church.  Three more graduation parties.  Two job interviews.  Praxis (Ironically, it was all the adults who looked like they were about to doze off, while my friend from school and I were quite awake.  I guess sitting in class for six hours a day does help with focus…).

All topped off with eleven hours of sleep plus a three hour nap.

It’s really weird; thirteen years of my life just vaporized over the course of about two hours.  All the relationships, the ethos, the little oddities and quirks about the school, the goodwill points with faculty/staff/administration–they’re all just memories now.  There are some people whom, most likely, I literally will never see again.  And it’s funny: I always assumed that when I graduated, I would be glad to get away from the people but perhaps miss the academic environment a little bit.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss the people more a lot more than I thought: my peers, some more than others, but especially some of my teachers.

Another funny thing: “real” adults want me to call them by their first names.  This seems incredibly awkward, and not just because my memory occasional fails and I cannot actually recall their first names.  There are some adults I’ve always called by their first names, and that’s totally fine, but for those who suddenly start signing their emails with their first name, presumably because they are no longer my teacher/coach/other-person-of-authority…it’s just awkward.

I guess the summary of this post is: I’M NOT READY TO GROW UP.