Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Attempting Adulthood

I sometimes feel like I'm the ultimate late-bloomer.  I am often told that I don't look my age (thank you, oily skin).  More often, that I don't act it (thank you, equally immature group of friends).  And I clearly I have a penchant for books that were meant for much younger women.  Girls, really.  Girls just graduating from college, getting their first apartment, moving away from home for the first time, having to learn how to fix their toilet or navigate a new city.  I've been out of my parents' house since I was nineteen and have been working ever since.  I've lived in four different states and nine different cities.  I'm old enough that I should know better about a lot of these things that various women are writing about for younger generations.  So why do I keep reading these books about becoming an adult (and how to go about it the right way the first time)? 

It all started a few years ago, when I discovered The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything (which I house in the Reference section of my Kindle).  Melissa Kirsch's book is a fun read and you can skip around or read it cover to cover - it's all up to you.  I am only now examining why it appealed to me.  Today, of all days, because I am reading yet another one of these books (more on that later) and because I let someone make me feel like a complete and utter failure as an adult for doing one thing wrong.  Not a small thing, but still.  And no, I don't want to talk about it just now.

In any case, what really got me interested, once I'd delved into this book, was that it did not shy away from reality.  Like the fact that many women suffer from irregular bowel movements.  Something most women do not want to discuss with anyone.  Holding it in, pretending we don't have bodily functions so as not to offend guys - what the hell are we thinking?  Shouldn't we be allowed to be human?  Shouldn't remaining healthy be more important than fitting into someone else's version of what you're supposed to be?  Along those lines, Kirsch brings up the fact that women's magazines aren't going to represent any female body you have or will ever see in real life.  In other words, stop comparing yourself to photoshopped pictures that make even the women they're supposed to be of feel insecure.

Books like this discuss things that women grow up (in most cases) believing apply only to them.  I have written about this before, but every time I talk to a group of women (friends, coworkers, what have you) about the nitty gritty of life, we always end up agreeing that we don't talk about these things enough.  Whether it's something serious like how many women actually suffer miscarriages and don't talk to anyone about it because they're afraid of what people will say.  To the far less serious fact that men aren't the only ones who fart and if you have gas, it's gotta go somewhere.

And thus, we come to my newest modern day self-help book: Adulting.    Written by Kelly Williams Brown (based on her blog of the same name), Adulting is very clearly for people much younger than me.  Unlike with Kirsch's guide, I will most likely only read certain sections.  But what made me like it right away was the confirmation of "it isn't just you."  I may not generally care about being normal, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only adult who has felt like a failure for forgetting to pay a bill or buy toilet paper or becoming romantically entangled with a direct supervisor at work (which, really, we all know better than to do, right?).  All of that was a long time ago and I am proud to say that I now always have a good supply of paper goods, I paid all my bills early this month and I think the feeling is mutual that there will be no romance between me and anyone else at my current job (just lots of love, you guys).

Since I've had a bad day for adulting, I'm going to take a moment for some affirmations.  Won't you join me?  Here are the things I need to remember make me a responsible adult (if nothing else):

I own a toolbox with a complete set of tools, extra nails and screws, and enough duct tape and Gorilla Glue to fix anything that needs fixing.

My kitchen is packed with good, fresh food and enough dry ingredients to make a big Italian dinner for last minute guests.

And this one, from Brown's Adulting blog:  I fully recognize that admitting I've done something poorly does not excuse it or make everything just dandy.  It is simply the first step in fixing the problem.  I also recognize that most people don't understand this concept and will therefore apologize for their actions without actually changing.


Possible future reads:


  1. amen.
    love you jewdle... (is that your new nickname?) like doodle? but a jewish one?


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