I'm 21 years of age and I'm uncomfortable about it. I still feel on the inside very much like a child. I watch The Incredibles far more than is appropriate for an up-and-coming twenty-something. I know the names of all of Dora's jungle friends. And instead of things like internships or boyfriends I mostly just have lots of sweaty nap sessions.
I'm the oldest of five kids. I know about kid things. I know that poop is funny and snow days rock and The Sims 2 changed the state of our nation forever (or at least the state of my elementary school recess). What I don't understand is how to get a job or, say, a hot boy to kiss my mouth. The fact of the matter is I don't know how to grow up, and it seems like everyone around me already has. Allow me to explain.
Take, for example, the whole thing about starting a career. Lots of people my age seem to be running around from their swanky internship at the Boston Globe to their $20 an hour job watching preppy kids sleep for five hours. When I walked around all of Boston handing out beautifully formatted résumés to every business I could find, I realized two hours in that somehow they had all printed "Information Technology" instead of my name. A few weeks later Starbucks had a new barista with a highly unorthodox name.
Finding an internship only went slightly better, but it wasn't deeply and importantly fulfilling in the way I felt The Devil Wears Prada promised me. By some stroke of fate I snagged one at a comedy club a few summers ago. This was what the internship consisted of: standing on a Milwaukee sidewalk at rush hour dressed in child's leotard and tutu, waiting to help park the cars of the club's patrons. They called it "ballet parking." (To be honest it was actually really fun -- but not exactly helping much to further my career.)
The whole "graduate with one foot in the door" thing doesn't seem to be happening for me. We're growing up really fast, and in an incredibly competitive age. I'm 21, but I'm also only 21. There's no Cosmo quiz to help me find my life's path, no online listicle to show me that the guy standing behind me in Starbucks is the one I'm meant to watch reruns of Friends with until we decide to get married (isn't that how a proposal works?). Some people have significant others. Some people have great job prospects. I have a weird skin rash and an illegally downloaded version of the Goonies.
My mother, like most mothers, knows everything. She gave me this advice: No one is actually succeeding at adjusting to adulthood. Everyone who looks like they are is just pretending.
So that's where I am in my life. I'll leave the helicopter parents and high-stress internships to my friends. When I get tired of the adult talk at the dinner table, I'll paint my nails black and play Barbies with my sister. Ces't la vie.