What does being an "adult" actually mean? The definition seems to differ from person to person. For some people, being an adult means taking on more responsibility and living on your own. For others, it's all about growing up and feeling you have become the person you were always meant to be. When we become adults, our tastes in music, food, and style (in addition to our views on relationships, our careers, and the world in general) might change. I personally have changed my mind on things, landed a big girl job, and have lot more responsibility in the "real world," but I'm 28 and still don't feel like an "adult."
I was always one of those people who thought that once I turned 18, went off to college, and landed my first job, I'd feel more confident and grown up. I envisioned myself filling up my wardrobe with classy pantsuits, cooking homemade meals every night, and spending my summers vacationing in the Hamptons with my girlfriends.
The thing is, I still have cereal for dinner, I mostly wear oversized sweaters, and my last vacation was to Disneyland. You'd never find a picture of me in the dictionary next to the word "adult," and I'm totally OK with all of that.
I'm a kid on the inside.
When I get invited to things like cocktail tastings and fancy yacht trips with my friends, I kind of feel like someone's little sister who's secretly tagging along. Oftentimes, I feel exactly like the scene from The Little Rascals when there are two kids stacked on top of each other in a trench coat pretending to be an adult. On the outside, I'm holding my martini like I'm Samantha from Sex and the City, but on the inside, I feel like I'm a little kid getting a kick out of how fancy it appears.
I like to think that I'll always be a kid on the inside. I don't ever want to be a serious or rigid person who can't enjoy watching an animated movie, or eating gooey cake at a party. I always want to be down for adventure, and I think it's that inner child that allows me to do that.
I still have growing up to do.
Not feeling totally comfortable being an adult just means I'm new at it. Just like any job you take on, it's common to struggle a little at first getting to know the ins and outs. Adulting encompasses a lot that nobody ever bothered trying to teach us in school. A lot of experience just naturally happens out in the real world, and trying to find your footing can be a challenge.
I am OK with the fact that I'm learning along the way and I have much room for improvement. I don't want to reach a point where I've stopped growing just yet. With so much still to understand, I'm an eager beaver waiting to learn.
I know I'm not alone.
I kept my secret of feeling like a faux adult to myself. When I finally opened up to my friends that I don't feel like an adult at all, I was surprised to hear them respond with things like, "Oh my god, I'm so glad you said something." What I quickly realized is that it's common to feel uncertain about being an actual adult. Sure, some of us were born with incredible maturity from day one that I'll never reach, but most of us are still just trying to figure it all out.
Being an adult doesn't happen overnight; it's something you grow into gradually (and everyone reaches it at a different pace). I'll always be Rachel, the girl who wants to be a princess for Halloween, and would rather eat chocolate for dinner because it tastes way better than broccoli. I'm still maturing, and maybe one day I'll get that feeling of being an actual "adult," but until then, I'm having fun feeling like two kids stacked on top of one other in a trench coat.