Let me start off by saying, how do I actually know I’m an adult? I don’t feel like one. I don’t act like one. And I certainly don’t look like one.
I’m 25 now, and I was under the impression that at some point we all undergo a magical, ‘caterpillar turning into a butterfly’ transformation experience. Figuratively speaking, of course… At the very least, I expected some kind of watershed moment where we become conscious of the fact that “we are adult now.” It didn’t come after graduation. It didn’t come when I moved into my first home, built my own furniture, and got my first bills. And it didn’t even come after I got married.
So what is it I’m waiting for? Do we ever really feel like adults? Or are we all journeying through life, doing what we think adults should do, while simultaneously hoping that nobody figures out we’re all just pretending?
Am I really an imposter?
So this is a question I’ve thrown around and asked other adult-looking people. I was genuinely curious as to whether it was just me, or whether it’s something a lot of us just don’t talk about. After all, the last thing an imposter wants is to be discovered!
Surprisingly, of the people I asked, all of different ages, career accomplishments, and family statuses, the resounding response was: “Yes. Most of the time I think I’m just playing ‘adult’ and someday, somebody is going to find out.” So that was good to know. I guess being an adult doesn’t really feel like anything after all.
Are adults really as secure, strong, and confident as they make out to be?
This one is easy. No. No they’re not.
We’re all life-long learners, figuring out how to live, while trying to inflict the least amount of damage on ourselves and those around us. Fact. I know this because I’ve spoken to first-time parents. Their trajectory is arguably the most tangible step into adulthood since it bears lifelong, vulnerable and hungry responsibility: babies.
If you’ve ever spent legitimate time around babies and their new parents, you know. (If you’re still calling your best friend’s baby “adorable,” you haven’t spent legitimate time around that tiny human.) Or, if you are indeed one of those babies/new parents, you know too. If you have neither experience, then imagine a squirmy, tacky worm screaming in your bed at witching hour, unable to communicate what’s going on in their over-stimulated minds, and refusing to eat, play, or sleep. Put it this way, it’s pretty hard to feel secure, strong, and confident when you have no idea what’s going on.
And that’s the crux of it, as “adults” I don’t think we ever really know what’s going on or what to do.
Will I ever be able to walk past a group of teens and not feel like prey?
Granted, this one is subjective. I still get IDed for matches and I’m pretty sure you only need to be 16 (or 18 in the US) to purchase them. But here’s the thing; I assumed that as soon as I turned 21, people would just be able to sense it.
Don’t you remember sitting on the bus as a pre-teen, glancing at the older kids in their rambunctious groups, and thinking, “Golly, those guys are SO much older and cooler. Gotta make sure I don’t make eye contact, lest they make snide remarks about my Harry Potter glasses!” (Of course, if you’re an 11 year old using words like “golly” and “lest” and wearing circular gold-framed glasses, then I shouldn’t have been surprised when the older kids targeted me. Pray, I jest!) Nevertheless, I’m a grown woman and if there’s a group of teens coming my way, I will cross the road.
This is what I’ve realised: just because you’re technically an “adult” doesn’t mean you have to act or think differently; everybody is pretending they know what they’re doing; and getting older doesn’t make you braver.
There you have it, a over-grown child’s observations about adulthood.
Is it just me who had certain expectations? Or do you also feel like you’re sometimes pretending to be an adult? Or better yet, have you had that watershed, red pill moment?
Feel free to check out and follow my Instagram @kateisbritish to see where I’m at!