One morning, I woke up with the sun, and as I walked out of my bedroom, I was surprised to find a spotlessly clean house.
On time for once, I had time to shower and fix my hair just the way I wanted, cook breakfast, sit down and talk with my husband all before I was needed anywhere …
… And then I woke up. Darn it! I’d been dreaming again.
Instead, my eyes popped open only to realize that I only had 10 minutes to get up, get dressed, and get out the door, curtesy of my 4th snooze in a row. My class was going to start soon.
I ran out the door, past the polluted Lake Laundry, the teetering Mt. Dirty Dishes, and through the Cluttered Cavern of my living room. Decorations from Halloween and Christmas mingled in the cavern’s dark corners.
I’m pretty sure Santa and the creepy ghoul gossip about the abominable amount of knick-knacks, movies, and books one couple can have. Or about the interesting things college- aged people can figure out how to eat out of when the dishes don’t get done.
To be honest, I’d like to say that I slowed down and thought about my life choices, but I was running late. It didn’t cross my mind until later that time has a funny way about it.
I’ve spent the last few years since I moved into a home of my own trying to predict when I would become an adult, and I was so preoccupied by life and trying to keep my head above water that I didn’t realize that time was already here.
There’s not some moment, some achievement that marks the complete crossover from adolescence into adulthood, but instead, it’s a state of mind that you have to come to where you learn that adulthood is an ever-evolving concept. You figure it out as you go.
That afternoon, when I’d finished with my classes and my work, I looked at who I was, what I was doing, and where my life was headed, and I found that state of mind. I finally knew what I had to do: I had to take responsibility and put to use the tools my parents gave me while growing up, even if that meant spending my weekend cleaning.
Kids often take for granted the little things that their parents do for them—feed them, shelter them, provide them with clothing and warmth, amongst all the other things. It’s hard for the mind of a child to grasp the idea of what it means to be a part of society and surviving unsupervised.
I myself was clueless to the responsibilities of life when I went out into the world on my own. I didn’t think about bills, rent, or insurance. I never considered the cost of keeping a car in good shape.
At first, I acted on sheer spontaneity, which quickly proved to be a bad idea. That “you should know better” knowledge had to come with each consequence for my actions. I learned life’s lessons after getting back up when I got knocked down.
The skills my parents taught me as a child, skills that I was unwittingly learned with each day, finally began to manifest subconsciously. I began to understand the chores I had to do.
Though I hated them then (and still do!), I saw their value in creating a functioning home. I began to understand why I couldn’t have everything I wanted and what it means to be the one making the decisions in a home.
Becoming an adult is a gradual process, but I would almost swear that I saw a transformation in myself that day like the moment when a caterpillar threads the last thread of its cocoon. I’m still young, and there’s many more mistakes to be made.
And though I’m no butterfly yet, the threshold into adulthood has been crossed. I will always look back at my younger days and miss their simplicity, but growing up isn’t so bad either.