There is a word that one of my cousins introduced me to, via social media: adulting. You read that correctly – “adult” with an -ing at the end. And while I cannot find a formal definition for it, I understand its existence on my cousin’s behalf, as she uses it to categorize interview tips, 401k advice, savings plans, etc. on Pinterest. And the more I kind of pondered this little word, the more I loved it: being an adult isn’t just a noun – we aren’t just allowing this experience of growing and living in this world to passively happen TO us, we are, in actuality, present tense verbs. We are doing what it takes to BE an adult. We are “adulting”. (Not to be confused with adultery or adulating, both of which my auto-correct keeps changing this new, awesome word into.)
And while I don’t have any type of set definition to this new word that, seemingly, my cousin Devin cleverly created, I would gather that anyone reading this might know exactly what I mean. If you are a person with bills to pay, friends and family to love, and life to live, you make grown-up, adult decisions that are part and parcel of life. We all make choices to pursue our happiness, find our bliss, and keep us afloat, whether saving for retirement, paying rent, signing that new car lease, switching jobs, or any other decision we all make to move ever upward and onward.
One of the first times I truly felt like an adult, a grown up of the world, comes at one of the oddest moments: the day we had new windows installed in our house. At this point, I had gotten married, been working as a teacher for a few years, earned a masters degree, and had a baby, but I felt allllllll grown up the day we got our 30 year old windows replaced with new, energy efficient ones. It was one of those practical decisions we made, taking advantage of a tax rebate. It really didn’t add to the aesthetics of the house, it wasn’t something people noticed after we had it done, and while a capitol improvement, windows are windows. It was the least exciting decision I had made about my house to date. But it left me feeling responsible and like we had accomplished something, like I had run a marathon: we were taking care of our house and being practical in so many ways. Adult-ed. Gold star for us.
Lately, though, the tone and tenor of the adulting has changed. Maybe its the addition of kids, maybe its my time away from teaching, maybe it’s my entrance into my 30’s – but some of the bigger and smaller decisions, seem to take a bit more into consideration and encompass some other factors. We’re looking ahead at the potential needs of our family, our personal preferences, our ambitions and dreams and going through each one with a fine-tooth practicality comb. We’re realizing that some things that may have been desires and dreams, are no longer so. We’ve had epiphanies and light-bulbs-going-on-in-our-head moments, and have seen how some beliefs have strengthened, some wants no longer exist, and that at the end of the day, it really truly is about family, friends and faith for us. It’s been real, in so many ways. It’s been a journey of discussion and simplifying and letting go, while at the same time embracing and holding on tighter, and accepting what is. Accepting what has come to be, because of all the unconscious adulting we’ve been doing for a long time.
This next step for my family and myself, while common enough, took a lot of adulting to get to: we bought a new house. It isn’t far from where we currently live (same town, same schools, same pizzeria), but it took a lot of conversation and discussion, weighing of pros and cons, and consideration of tiny and big factors alike, that I never thought would have been necessary in the past. We spent months and months talking about moving and dissecting it to bits and pieces. Maybe too much, but we make no apologies about our process – it was what we needed to do to take the next step for us. But this step feels different from the last time we went through this; there is a different feeling about it; one with more permanence and weight.
We’ve done some major organizing and purging and preparing to show our home. I spent several weeks feeling like I had to constantly be walking behind the kids with a dustpan and broom, to ensure a “show-ready” house. Fingers crossed, all things go get processed and closed smoothly and easily. That’s where my free time has been lately – aside from the beach and pool – I’ve been working to keep the house in tip-top condition. More adulting. It was exhausting. Haha. Hoping not to do it again for a looooong time.
So, we have boxes to pack and nail holes to patch and nooks and crannies to sweep out these next few weeks. And I’m sure there will be more “adulting” moments to be had every step of the way, every day forward, from now and til forever. But I’m not sure if this move will give me that moment of “ah, yes, I am, in fact, a grown up,” as I still feel like that 16 year old who had a crush on the cute baseball catcher way back when. Or maybe I still feel that way because I still do have a crush on that cute baseball catcher. Either way, I stay tuned with the next that comes down the road for us.