Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Better Adult

Fruit Trees by the Lake, Gustav Klimt

I've been thinking a lot about adulthood, now that I'm clearly here. Adulthood has been dawning on me gradually. I think part of me has always felt middle-aged. I used to say, "I feel like a grandma." Said it quite often, actually, until my then soon-to-be boyfriend said, "Sarah, no one wants to date a grandma!" Excellent point.

But I remember being a newly elected 10th grade class president, wandering the decks of an end-of-freshman-year party we had on a boat, listening to my classmates throw up in the bathroom. (It wasn't from the water; it was from the alcohol.) And I felt so old then, so old.

I've been growing into my skin ever since. I went off to college and became financially independent. (Though my parents have bailed me out with airplane tickets home and a few generous checks now and then, which they have never held against me. Thank you, parents.) Did my own taxes. Started buying my own "art." (Cheap prints of Klimt I hung on my wall.) Taught a year of high school. Moved to Texas. Got an array of jobs. Traveled. Made Important Life Decisions (to move there, not to move there, to apply to school there, not to marry him, etc.). I bought two cars. I graduated from law school.

Now here I am, with a bedroom, a bathroom, a car, a job, a commute, a professional wardrobe, a secretary. I'm 28. No longer beta. A full adult.

But still sometimes I miss the bus. I have few well-running routines. My finances are moving forward but sometimes only by the skin of my teeth. I'm sure that at some point, I will be good at much of this. Or at least, it will feel more normal. I'll have savings. I'll actually use my dental insurance. I'll be more likely to remember to bring the garbage to the curb on Thursday nights than to forget. At some point?

And then I wonder, surely God meant more for adults than just this, a competency at routine. And I wonder, What is adulthood anyway?



tpmotd said...

I don't know what adulthood is, but I do know that I've become part cyborg by merging my thought process and memory with the email notifications feature on Google Calendar. Just think, you check your email a lot, so if you one telling you to take out the garbage, you just might do it.

tpmotd said...

P.S. Maybe you're just a neotenous juvenile:

Monica Merced Rich said...

You have a secretary?!? I am so jealous.

Jacki said...

Seriously, a secretary? I think you are the first of my friends to get one of those. That IS adult.

Sarah said...

Sarah. A shout out from someone who shares your name. Love your blogs.
I would assert that adulthood is even more than learning to want (and putting yourself in the position to get)the "right" things for your self and your life (Plan A--ie what God wants for you). (Side note--that's growing up.) Adulthood is , among other things, getting all ready and prepared and then taking what is dished to you (almost always not what you thought) and watching yourself make Plans B, C, and so on. At true adulthood, looking back, you can actually sense all the preparing for Plan A served you just as well, as God always knew it would.
Said by SarahAllenBrown

Abraham said...

"a child shall lead them" means as much to us as individuals as it does messianically. the child in us always has to win out. it's one of the things that makes you so wonderful. yes, this is your former bishop doing QA on your website just to make sure you're as fabulous as ever. and it's still true: you are a marvel. happy blessings and have a wonderful 2009.

Kate said...

OH, MAN do I think about this A LOT.
A few months back I was asked to be on a panel representing "Mormon youth." I declined, because I'm not sure a 28 year old married woman is technically a youth...especially in Mormondom. In Mormon-time I should already have 5 children.

I am so torn because being adult is often associate with assimilation. If you can't conform, you just haven't grown up yet. If you see an adult man without a typical career, or a woman who voluntarily remains childless you hear that they "just need to grow up."

I was at a "interview panel" today at law school with lawyers teaching us how to get law jobs. One of the panel mentioned the MOST absurd thing he'd ever heard in an interview was a guy asking if he could work 1/2 the time for 1/2 the pay. Everyone laughed at the ABSURDITY of not wanting to assimilate to the 9-5 (6,7,8...) corporate scheme. "How immature." But, if losing all creativity and zest for life is "growing up" you can officially check me in as a lost boy.

I am far from figuring anything out about adulthood, and at times still feel like the word adult is not an accurate description of me, but I think at it's root it has to do with learning selflessness. Perhaps this is why it it so closely associated with child-rearing. Children demand that all of their wants be met. They have a hard time considering the needs of others. They do not want to be even mildly inconvenienced.

Perhaps true "growing up" is not so much a function of chronology, but of character.