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Road Signs

April 23, 2013

There comes a time in everybody’s life when road signs are clear. The first is a loss of childhood, and I remember mine distinctly:

Picture a nine-year old Adria running around making leopard dioramas and wearing shimmery leggings prepping for her tenth birthday. All of a sudden something dawns on her, and I’ll never forget that feeling, it came in clear and said, “you won’t be able to get away with childish behavior for much longer”. Stupid, silly, childlike questions go off the table once you start growing breasts. It’s not excusable to ask your friend’s mom who put on weight if she’s pregnant…this is cute when you’re six, not cute when you’re twelve.

The second comes in when you turn twenty:

I was working a summer job where I was the youngest person in my department by easily twelve years. It was my twentieth birthday and I cried in front of these people who had no pity for me being sad about . I cried because I was losing the chance to be a teenager. All those teenage tv shows, movies, the Cluelesses, the American Pies, the Fast Times at Ridgemont Highs, the Dawson’s Creeks, et cetera weren’t my demographic anymore. I was older than those characters. (As time goes on you realize that you’re older than a lot of people: almost everyone in the Olympics, half of the NFL football players, most of the musicians on the [top 40] radio, and on and on, and I can imagine that it only gets worse, because it already is). Twenty was rough. Twenty was a complete loss of innocence. Twenty was a wake up call…

And then you graduate college and go into the real world, and that road sign is as clear as day, it says: GET A JOB. For a year or so everything sucks. You realize that you have no idea how to be by yourself because you just spent the last eight years surrounded by people EVERY SINGLE DAY. All of a sudden you have to spend SO many hours with yourself and you’re not sure who you are or if you like yourself. But you can still get away with behaving a little bit like a moron because you JUST graduated from college and you have like no clue how to be a grown up. So you make a lot of little mistakes. Maybe you forget to pay your phone bill or your electric bill or have to Google how to write a check or you have to Google everything.

And then you hit this mark…somewhere around your late twenties (oh GOD…). It isn’t cute to behave like you did when you were a kid, or turning twenty, or just figuring it out, because you’ve been in the real world for five years and no one wants to take care of you anymore. You’re an adult. You know how to keep your bank balance above overdraft fees, you call your insurance company when they forget to pay a claim, you change your towels every few days, and you buy flowers weekly to brighten up your apartment. So when you find yourself behaving like you did when you were drunk and nineteen, no one finds it forgivable. Actually, a couple of people probably do, but worse than the judgement of others is the judgement you put upon yourself. You might hate yourself. You might be disgusted with yourself. You might wonder if you are the person that you wanted to grow up into, or if you’ve turned into someone that you’re not so proud of. So you Google it…but there’s no search results that can solve your problems. So you listen to The Cranberries on Spotify and go for a long run and hope that you’ve maybe learned from your mistakes.

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