Three months later…
It’s packing your lunch the night before so you can enjoy your morning coffee. It’s also exploding a deftly wedged yogurt in your gym bag because you sacrificed secure Chobani packaging to save forty cents. It’s adult to have to a make a paycheck last.
It’s lugging what feels like every item in your home on every limb that can hold a box, strap or handle and boarding two buses, each way, every day. It’s keeping your head down when a man in acid wash jeans and unwashed dreads unleashes laughter and expletives from the back of the bus, to no one in particular: “She so ugly — it’s like her mom wanted a girl and her dad wanted a boy, so G-d made them both happy.” It’s adult to keep quiet yet vigilant.
It’s feeling a vein in your forehead twitch at the hint of another hidden fee from Pepco, from FIOS, from your building, from that leprechaun that informs you you’re in a hallucinogenic rage. It’s knowing “the customer is always right” is a vestige of the past. That no one rewards civility. Adulting is knowing you catch more bees with honey, but you catch the most bees by lighting a honey cake on fire.
It’s figuring out how to tell your bosses about the Jewish holidays coming up. How you won’t be checking emails for up to 49 hours. Adulting is negotiating which holidays to spend with your family and which to spend with your boyfriend’s — most important, how to break the news.
It’s loving your job and thanking God with every inch of your skin that still needs to be pinched to make sure you aren’t dreaming. It’s also not being able to turn off the TV, to drown out the violence and racism when you feel like chasing out the evil and curling into a fortress. It’s being paid to pay attention. Adulting is towing research home at night with stories knitted in your chest.
It’s being far despite Facetimes and disobeying that desire to scorn your siblings and parents who haven’t visited. It’s getting used to feeling the loneliness of not living in a dorm and always being the variable in transit, never the destination. Adulting is trying to be “good at staying in touch,” but feeling tired that you have to be.
In the simplest terms: no one prepares you on being an adult. At least the adults in my life didn’t. There’s no bedside bible titled “How to read an autopsy from a child homicide” or “How not to cry after watching the VICE Charlottesville video three times” or “Keep Calm and Hurricane Harvey on when your brother’s been homebound in Houston for five days.” No.
No one prepares you for how gratifying it is to submit the first payment on your student loan. Or to open a 401k. Or tell your friends, “tabs on me,” I work now, after all. And while adult life has brought me much to lug through so far. I’m not trudging. I’m not sinking. I’m not staggering. I’m not face-planting.
My back is straight, my arms are full, and my heart has soul.
Just like college was new when I began Collegadox, the professional environment is full of even more surprises. On January 5, 2014, three and half years ago, I made you a promise: “Whether you read or not, I will keep writing, because I sure have a story to tell.”
I can only hope I haven’t disappointed.