One of my all-time favorite books is Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. I’m currently listening to the audio book version for the second time and laughing just as hard as my first go round with Queen Fey. There are few sources of entertainment that make me laugh out loud, like really laugh. Not the forced type of laughing that I perfected while waitressing and the customer’s joke about needing a to-go box for an empty plate was made for the three-thousandth time. The kind of laughing that makes me rip my inhaler out of my
fanny pack purse and do a few victory puffs. Sexy, I know. A few friends, my sisters, my husband, the TV show Impractical Jokers, and Tina Fey – those are the only asthma attack inducing sources I can think of at the moment.
In a chapter of Bossy Pants, Tina Fey discusses the moment in life where women feel like they are finally grown women. The answers are hilariously sad, mostly a combination of sexual firsts, menstruation, and moving out.
“Almost everyone first realized they were becoming a grown woman when some dude did something nasty to them…It was mostly men yelling shit from cars. Are they a patrol sent out to let girls know they’ve crossed into puberty? If so, it’s working.”
While listening to this section of the audio book a few weeks ago, I drove down the interstate trying to think of the moment I felt like I was a grown woman. I reminisced about moving out of my parent’s house at 17 and into a college dorm, close enough to adulthood right? Not quite. I got written up for having a boy in my room past 11pm, I kept a bowl of live caterpillars under my bed, I had a growing collection of used chewing gum displayed on my wall, I frequented Waffle House at 3am, and almost got suspended for having an unlit candle on my windowsill. Not adulthood by any stretch of the imagination.
Was it when I got my first apartment and had to pay all of my own bills? No, I’ve had a job since I was 15 so paying for my own wants and needs wasn’t a new feeling to me. Getting married, was that my big grownup moment? Oddly enough, no. It was my happiest moment, my “holy crap this is really happening” moment, but anybody can get married. I know people nearly ten years younger than me who are married and have kids. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out the grand moment when I felt like a grown woman. It got me to thinking, maybe I don’t feel like a grownup yet? Maybe it simply hasn’t happened for me?
And then, as if the universe heard my plea and answered it with my very own grownup moment, IT HAPPENED. I went to get my oil changed and after the appointment, a sad-eyed mechanic said he needed to speak to me about something and pointed to my car. The infamous “we need to talk” phrase was rearing its ugly head once again. I was either about to be broken up with or have bad news of some other variety delivered to me. I was leaning towards the latter given the circumstances.
The greased up mechanic crouched down next to my car so I did the same thing, not sure what we were crouching for yet. He then pointed to my tire, my beautiful, bald tire. I knew what was coming, the same way I knew my high school boyfriend was getting ready to tell me he cheated on me, but it wasn’t really cheating because “it didn’t mean anything and I still like you and stuff.” The mechanic explained how unsafe it was for me to be driving on four worn out tires, three of them nearly completely bald. I had been putting off this hefty purchase for a few months, but it was clear that the time had arrived to buy four new tires for my little Mazda.
It didn’t hit me until I was driving out of the tire shop a few days later that THIS was my grownup moment, it had finally arrived! I can honestly say that purchasing four new tires for my car was the moment that made me feel like an adult. Why? Because I (with the help of my husband) had to shovel out over $500 on a purchase that didn’t give me any real satisfaction or warm & fuzzy feelings the way new bedding, a new laptop, or some other material item can. The only purpose these insanely expensive pieces of rubber served was my safety and well-being. How lame. But I think that’s what adulthood really amounts to. It’s about responsibility, about doing what is best even when you don’t get to touch or see the results of your actions, but you know it was still the right thing to do. It can be incredibly difficult, at least for me. Maybe that is one of the few things that separates us from being children. Or big, awkward, pubescent teenagers who should still be considered children. Or people who are legally considered adults, but still act like children.
While my big grownup moment wasn’t earth shattering and didn’t involve getting verbally harassed in a parking lot by a strange man (bummer), it was enough to make me slightly giddy while driving home in my fancy new wheels. Ahhh, adulthood. I have arrived.
What was the moment in your life you felt like a grown man or woman?