When is it no longer appropriate to consider yourself a kid? Or, what exactly signifies “adulthood”? The little things add up. I remember how strange it felt when my school-mates first started to drive—stranger yet when I got my own license. By now, I feel at ease behind the wheel, and even prefer to be the driver rather than the passenger.
Then there’s the legal drinking. As a student in the UK, my alcohol consumption was never clandestine, and I celebrated my 21st birthday without much fanfare. (That’s not to say I didn’t get drunk, of course—just that it wasn’t a big transition for me.) Until I came back to the US. It’s only when I’m asked to show my ID that it hits me—I’m doing grown-up things! I mean, what do we do for fun these days? We get together to eat, to drink, to talk. We can sit at a table for hours! I remember when the minimum requirement for a party was a patch of grass with just enough space to run around and play. These days, our parties are fueled by alcohol.
Oh, and let’s not forget money: as a grad student (notice I’m putting off being a “real person”, an adult) I actually get paid. Real money. Not that I’ve learned what to do with it. (Uh… what are taxes, again?)
And now, here I am, suitcase at my side, waiting for the (delayed) flight to take me home to my family—if only for a weekend visit. I sit alone, in an armchair, sipping red wine, typing. How must I look to the ten-year-old who just ordered coca-cola from the bar? Could it be I look like… an adult?