When I was growing up, I always thought being an adult would feel different than the way I currently feel. I’m not sure whether that means I’m not an adult or that my perception was wrong. I vacillate between feeling like I’m twenty-five-going-on-twenty-one or twenty-five-going-on-fifty. The whole being-an-adult thing still feels very surreal to me.
It’s not so much the fact that my friends and family are (getting) married. I’ve been used to that idea since 2007 and 2008, my junior and senior years in undergrad, when most of my friends started getting engaged and married. I went to a conservative undergraduate university where many of the female students had the goal of getting the (and I’m not kidding) “Ring Before Spring” – get engaged before you graduate. Not all ladies did this, but a fair number did. Some succeeded but were relatively quickly divorced. For plenty, everything seemed to work out. In any case, my first semester of law school, I attended or was part of four or five weddings. It was a running joke in my circle of friends: “Sam, what are you doing this weekend? Another wedding?” One friend of mine jokingly (and sometimes, heartbreakingly) called me “Jane” from 27 Dresses because I’d been a bridesmaid so many times. It’s been a pretty steady stream of weddings since then, including Ajooma and, soon enough, Mary Kate. In any case, marriage isn’t what makes things feel so odd.
Babies are everywhere lately. My Facebook news feed, on pictures outside cubicles of my coworkers, all over Pinterest. I mean, I guess babies are everywhere all the time and I’m just noticing it more now. The ladies I knew in college and sometimes high school are procreating (and have been for some time, in some cases). That’s what makes me feel like:
That’s when I realize that we’re “adults” in the way I used to think of adults. The baby thing blows my mind because I’m not at a point in my life where I’m ready to have kids, and I can’t currently imagine what it feels like to be ready for that kind of thing. I mean, babies are cute and amazing and all, but they’re also scary – scary in the sense that it means you’re responsible for whether something lives or dies, grows up well-adjusted or completely mental, and all that jazz.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m PUMPED for friends of mine who are at that stage in their lives/relationships. It’s exciting and scary and fantastic all at once. And I don’t hate babies or anything (although I’m generally afraid of holding them because I’m terrified I’m going to break them or drop them) – I like them and I’d like to have them someday. It’s just also mind-boggling to me. There are days where I view every baby I see as a perfect little bundle of sunshine and rainbows and cuteness, but there are also days where I view every baby I see as a little poop-making, vomit-spewing, screeching tiny human who can’t tell me what’s wrong. It’s a whole different level of responsibility that I have a hard time fathoming.
I guess that’s it – the idea that you’re responsible enough to not only take care of yourself and your partner, but also a teeny tiny half-you-half-your-partner being. That’s the part of adulthood I haven’t reached yet and that both scares and excites me. It seems perfectly natural and wonderful to see my friends reaching the baby point, but it seems like something far away in the future for me (even though it likely isn’t). I mean, it’s not like I’m a completely irresponsible person who has a hard time taking care of herself. Far from it. I just – wow.
Babies, man. Seriously.