I often talk about how I don't always feel like an adult. This transition from student to hip urban professional feels like an especially slow one. I mean, c'mon! I graduated four years ago! When I was 22 and walking up to the stage to get my diploma I thought I'd probably be married with a kid on the horizon by 26. And, at 26, I'm not ready (at least not for the kid part).
I don't revel in the freedom of adulthood the way that I thought I might. When your parents first drop you off at college for your freshman year, the freedom is incredible. You can drink, smoke, eat cereal from the dining hall for every meal, skip all of your classes and sleep all day if that's what you want. Because no one can say no. And if they try, you can lie about it. The freedom is power, and the power is intense and constant. Yes, I still occasionally find pleasure in having ice cream for dinner after a bad day, but it's a fleeting thing now. My thoughts quickly return to,"but I know better than this." Like my mother (or someone else's mother - maybe not mine who recently encouraged by 18 year old brother to get a fake ID). So even though I'm not ready, I'm someone's mother. I'm mine.
But, on the flip-side, being an adult isn't all self-policing -- it has its perks.
I decided today on the train that my favorite thing about being it is the cute shoes. Sure, my feet have been pretty much the same size since I was 13, but, thinking back on my early shoe collections, I was in a sad state. I'm sure I wore sneakers or hideously clunky shoes throughout high school. I recall a particular pair from early, and I seriously wish I had pictures... they were like little brown faux-leather boats on my size 6 1/2 feet. And I wore them ev-evr-y-where. I think when I went away to college I packed three or four pairs of shoes. That was probably all I had. Now... well, are you kidding? I think I have that many pairs under my desk at work. All adorable, flattering, delicate flats. Even my sneakers are cute. Geez, even my workout sneakers are cute. I wandered into New York in 2004 and finally woke up and said, "oooh! shoes!" like I had never seen a pair before. With a stressful job, too little money, a small apartment, blah, blah, blah, cute shoes are, so far, the highlight of my adulthood. I think of them as a microcosm of what i should be as a fully realized adult.
If you're thinking, "my, isn't she superficial and sad...," then I challenge you: think of your favorite pair of shoes in high school and your favorite pair now. See? You have much better taste now, right?