When Did I Become A ‘Responsible Adult?’


“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.” ~Virginia Woolf

There’s only few milestones in life that can be tangibly measured. When I was 18 I drove for the first time. When I was 21 I drank for the first time (and promptly threw it all back up.) When I was 22 (OK, it was more like 23 1/2) I got my undergraduate degree. The rest of the milestones speed past like the blurry trees outside a train window, leaving me to wonder, “Just where the heck did they go, and why didn’t I notice?”

I’ve heard it said that life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans. At this point in my life, exactly a third of a century old, I had planned to be a bush pilot, a fearless Hannibal Smith-style mercenary, a stunt driver for some Hollywood studio. I certainly didn’t envision myself saddled with a mortgage and commuting to a safe white-collar job every day. I didn’t dream of paying taxes, taking my car to the mechanic and registering to vote.

But here I am…and the strange thing is, I’m not unhappy about it.

At some point in the last five years, I’ve turned into a Responsible Adult. I still have my wild-hair adventures and my Aspie/Incredible Hulk blowups and my cosplaying weekends…but they are fewer and further between with each passing year. Money is tight, especially in this economy. If I have to choose between a repaired timing belt and a new lightsaber, the Force will not be with me. Most of my relics from the pre-Responsible Adult period (the replica chakram, the Jedi robes, the swords) have long since been sold to pay for Responsible Adult stuff. You know, like busted water heaters, new tires, health insurance. I don’t necessarily like it, but that’s the way it is.

To some degree I’ve always been a Responsible Adult. A long time ago, one of my favorite teachers told me I was “old before my time.” I wasn’t sure what she meant by this. I read the news, made every effort to do what civic duties I could, followed the rules, deferred to my parents’ better judgment, and certainly sowed no wild oats then or any other time. I never felt old back then. Now I’m starting to.

Maybe being a Responsible Adult isn’t so bad, I tell myself. I am in charge of my own life, my own destiny, and the remote control. I’m also one of the few adults from my generation who isn’t married and/or doesn’t have kids yet. My life may be boring sometimes but it isn’t without its perks. If I want to pack up and go to Florida for a weekend trip, I can.

I can’t say that I ever really saw my life being like this at my age (who can predict the future, after all?) There’s still time for me to save enough money for flying lessons or exotic trips to other continents. If I have to plow on through a decade more of Responsible Adulthood, that’s fine with me. Isn’t 40 the new 30, or something like that?

When did you know you’d become a ‘Responsible Adult?’ Do you like it or dislike it?

Later this week: the final matchup of the P&Q Hunger Games! Don’t miss it!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on September 17, 2012.

3 Responses to “When Did I Become A ‘Responsible Adult?’”

  1. Probably when I became a full-time illustrator and was too pooped to party! 🙂 It happens to the best of us Heather!

  2. I feel like I’m always trying to prove I’m a responsible adult… but no one ever believes me 🙂
    I envy you.

  3. Probably when I had kids. But like you, I’ve always been middling responsible, with irresponsible outbreaks. I don’t really mind either way, but I don’t really want to be old. And I am!

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