Playing At Being An Adult

Writing out a check earlier this week, I had the strange feeling of just playing like I was an adult. Sort of like when I was a kid, when playing Monopoly or Life or some other game that gave you funny money. Look at me! I’m all growed up.

Perhaps it was the ceremony that goes into writing a check. Writing out the words for the dollars, doing the cents as figures over 100. Writing out the figure amount. The dating and, of course, the signature.

Who taught me all this? I suppose in high school some of it might have been explained. But really, I think it comes from having watched parents or others who had checkbooks before I did – seeing what they did and mimicking the same.

Hence the playing at adult. There was no adult school I went to, to teach me to buy groceries, buy a car, buy a home, to have a family. No manual to adult life. Suddenly, I was away from home at college, on my own, with the trappings of adulthood. The responsibilities of being an adult. But no real experience of being an adult, nor a guide to what that is supposed to be. Was I doing it right? Would I be discovered as not really adult, by all the other real adults around me?

Sometimes I’m confident in my adulthood. I can feel I am all grown up, know where things are going, how they should be. But then I can look back and think wow, how young I was and how little I really knew.

I’ve seen people who seem unquestionably adult like. They exude a sense of authority, or certainty or, I don’t know – adultness. Grown up, no question – and I can feel like I still don’t quite belong.

I confess. I still pretend my car is a spaceship, with invisible thrusters I can control as I fly through space. Maybe I’ll never be fully adult, whatever that is.


Comments