“You’re such an adult.”
That’s the response I’m typically met with when people find out I own my New York City apartment. It’s something I’m proud of, sure, especially considering I used to rent an East Village abode that looked out over the building’s dumpster.
But an adult? No way.
A recent takedown of West Elm’s Peggy couch set the Internet ablaze and proved all too relatable for people who hate their couches. But more specifically, author Anna Hezel’s lament rang true for anyone who identified with the writer’s need to “prove [her] adulthood with mid-century furniture. And more specifically, a need to prove that [she had] graduated from Walmart bed frames and second-hand plywood shelves scooped up from the sidewalk.”
The idea of “graduating” into different stages of life goes beyond furniture, of course. As kids, we envision what our lives will look like, and by what age those things will come to fruition. I, for example, could see no other fate for myself than as a successful Broadway actor with three children, a husband and a home in the suburbs by age 25.
“LOL,” laughed my cat, and only current semblance of a companion, perched atop my own “adult” West Elm couch in the studio apartment I live in (alone) at age 28.
The truth is that nothing ― not home ownership, not living by yourself, not your career, not your offspring and certainly not your couch ― no matter how fancy, will ever make you feel like an adult. That reality arguably sinks in the first time you realize your parents, who once appeared as all-knowing beams of wisdom and perfection, turn out to be regular old people just trying to figure their shit out, too.
So sure, I bought an apartment and a fancy couch, but I still:
Use toilet paper to clean my furniture when I run out of paper towels. Oh come on, like you don’t do that too.
Let my laundry pile up until I have no underwear left. And even still for some time after that.
Eat hummus and carrots over my sink in my underwear for dinner. And not, as I previously pictured, a well-balanced, health conscious meal at a reclaimed wood table on the deck of my home in the country.
Spend money I don’t have on things I can’t afford. Including, yes, that fancy couch.
Am single. ...
Live paycheck to paycheck. Call it a symptom of living in New York City, but I have a feeling I’d feel just as childlike even with more savings.
Fall asleep with all my makeup on. Specifically, falling asleep with all my makeup on and forgetting to brush my teeth after too many glasses of wine.
Foolishly imagine my life will look a certain way when I hit the next milestone. All it takes is one conversation with people who have kids to realize that even being responsible for another human life doesn’t make you feel any more more like an adult, either. Sigh.
Look. Home decor, like clothing, should make you feel good and comfortable. If you want to get a fancy mid-century modern couch, get yourself a fancy mid-century modern couch. But probably don’t get this couch, and know in your heart that it won’t make you feel like a grown up. And even better, you should know that’s OK.