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I'm 35 and Still Can't Adult

Photograph by Twenty20

Ever feel like you’re a child stuck in a world where everyone expects you to be an adult? It’s like that movie, “13 Going On 30,” with Jennifer Garner: One day, I just woke up with my grown-up body and my grown-up life but didn’t know how to adult. Nothing prepares you for all that life throws at you as an adult. I frequently find myself searching for the person “in charge” and then am horrified to realize that person is me.

Adulting is hard. We all joke about it. Pinterest is full of memes and GIFs complaining about responsibilities and how growing up is a trap. It’s funny and true. Not in the "haha-funny" sort of way, but more in the “I’m 35 and still don’t know what the heck is going on” sort of way.

In college, I had a vision of my life in my mid-30s. I’d be married with a couple of kids, a real-life job and responsibilities. I’d be a bonafide adult in her suburban prime with a calendar of play dates and soccer games and a bank account that never got overdraft fees.

As boring as it might sound to some, it was my dream and it’s exactly what I got. While I’m incredibly thankful for what I have and I love my little life, I find myself unprepared to live this grown-up life I so desired. And it makes me wonder: When will I truly feel like the grown ass woman that I supposedly am?

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t know stuff that I feel like maybe I should know. I’m literally faking it more than half the time.

When, for instance, is it assumed that one should know how to handle car repairs without summoning the help of one’s father? At what point, hypothetically, should one have prepared an entire turkey dinner without borrowing a roasting pan and having one’s mother walk through the step-by-step instructions on the phone?

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t know stuff that I feel like maybe I should know. I’m literally faking it more than half the time. What I want to know is, am I alone? I’m guessing not.

I’m guessing there are plenty of us immature 30-somethings who don’t sort their laundry by color, who still laugh at immature humor, who wish that it was still socially acceptable to forget to go grocery shopping and live on Cup O' Noodles for a week.

There's no manual to teach everything that you may need to know as an adult. There's no user's guide to instruct you on how to handle the thousands of situations that will undoubtedly come your way. Sometimes the feeling of being an imposter in this fast-paced, know-it-all world makes me feel like I’ll never get my shit together. Like I’ll always be just getting by. Just catching on. Just faking it.

Then I realize that it’s OK. I will likely never have this whole adulting thing completely figured out. I’m flying by the seat of my pants and figuring life out as I go along—and I’m pretty damn good at it.

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