Sunday, July 15, 2012

Feeling like a grown-up

Although every once in awhile I'll see a recent picture of myself and think, "damn, I'm OLD", most of the time I think I'm still like, 20, tops. I like watching silly teen movies and TV shows.  I read young adult fiction, I buy accessories at Claire's, I love Hello Kitty, and paint my nails funky colors. I secretly in the privacy of my home sing along with The Wanted and Carly Rae Jepsen. I will still occasionally get carded when buying alcohol, and I LOVE it. But I also have to dye my hair to hide the increasing number of greys that are popping up, find it harder to bend down, use anti-aging eye cream, and find myself saying horribly old things like "what is WRONG with kids these days?"

Nothing made me feel as grown-up as signing the mortgage paperwork for my home. There are a lot of things that make me feel old, like kids I used to baby-sit getting married and having kids of their own, or seeing 25th anniversary releases of movies or albums I loved in my teens. Making the long-term commitment to home ownership though, was the first time I remember thinking, damn, I'm an adult now. And every time I see that payment come out of my account, I'm reminded that I'm a big girl, with big girl responsibilities.

We all have little things that make us feel "grown-up" at different times of our lives. The first time I wore a pearl necklace comes to mind. Or the first time I drank a martini. The makeup geek part of me remembers feeling super grown up the first time I bought my first high-end (department store) item. Weddings can sometimes bring out the inner teenager, but having to organize a funeral is another one of those things that really make you feel an adult...sometimes too much so.

We're keeping things light here though, so I'll let you know that the thing that currently has me feeling like a grown up is my new purse.

My new purse - it came with accessories!
Now, generally, I'm not one to buy high end purses. Most of the bags I own come from discount stores or from the dude on the corner with extra colors in the back of his van. I generally balk at anything over $40. I appreciate the craftsmanship and smell of a nice genuine leather bag, but I prefer to spend my money on other things. Recently though, the huge purse I bought for travel about 4 years ago and have been carrying around almost daily for about 2 years began to literally fall apart. (It was a splurge, on sale, for about $80. I think I got my money's worth.) So I was in the market for a new one. And I happened to get an email from a shop-at-home channel telling me they had a sale on Dooney & Burke bags. Even on sale, it was more money than I've ever spent on a bag. But it was so pretty and grown up! Plus I could spread the payments out over several months. So now I have a fancy big-girl purse.

The thing is, I almost want to carry it around in a protective bag at all times. I don't want anything to fall on it, I don't want hot stinky people on Metro to sweat on it...seriously, I treat it like a baby. I know it's a thing, I know I'm being crazy...but I can't help myself. The thing about being a grown-up is, you know the actual cost of things. I mean, yes, this bag doesn't have huge sentimental value, I didn't buy it with or inherit if from a beloved relative, it wasn't something I bought on a lovely vacation with my sweetheart, it was more of a late-night semi-impulse buy. (Keep me away from the internet and shop-at-home channels on sleepless nights.) But I know its cost in terms of percentage of my paycheck. I know I earned that purse, and I think that's why it reminds me that I'm really a grown up.

I'm sure seeing those special anniversary release numbers for movies of my youth get higher and higher isn't going to get any easier, and all the sunscreen and anti-aging serums of the world will not be able to prevent more wrinkles on my face. But I hope that being a grown up never kills the kid inside of me. I will continue to watch "Awkward." on MTV, even though I'm waaaaay outside their target demo, and older than the actors who play the parents on the show. (If you like 80s teen comedies, I think you'd enjoy it too. Give it a go. I'm team Jake.) And I will occasionally check out what's on Nick and Disney. Because I like being able to connect with my goddaughter over entertainment. And I enjoy being mistaken for younger than my actual age.  I like being an adult, but don't want to feel like a grown-up all the time.

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