This past Friday was the day that the new students at the university where I work moved into their dorms. I never lived on campus, so I guess I didn’t have the classic college experience of leaving my parents to move in with a billion other people in a tiny room, but the mixture of excitement and trepidation on their faces resonated with me all the same. I remember being an incoming first-year college student, wondering whether my classes would be too hard, the professors too academic or lofty, and the people much too smart for me (none of these things were the case).
I was walking back up the main street on campus, headed to my office after lunch when I was snapped out of reminiscing by a lost(ish) looking person. I asked if he needed some help, and he did need me to point out a building, which I gladly did for him. And then he said, “thanks ma’am.”
And there it was: confirmation that even though my college years feel as if they were yesterday, they were, in fact, not yesterday. But I’m not, like, a real adult, either, right?
Well, kind of.
So that got me thinking: I have actually entered yet another awkward “in-between” phase of my life. The mid-20s are supremely confusing.
I don’t feel grown up yet (not even a little). And the thing is, I have no idea what it would take for me to feel that way. I mean, I’m married, I have a child, a career, and I bought a house recently. I am, by definition, an adult. But I still feel like I stumble through life and make a lot of mistakes. When I’m doing things like mothering or writing for a living or teaching Sunday school or separating laundry, I just wait for the People In Charge to tap me on the shoulder and say something like, “We know all about how you’re not actually prepared for any of this. Time for you to leave.” But it hasn’t happened yet.
But then I have friends (who are my age) who are still in school, and some are just branching out on their own. Some have careers that they love and some are waiting tables (and doing something insanely cool on the side, because all of my friends are interesting and creative and generally awesome. I’m very lucky that way). They post Facebook statuses like, “If one more person gets engaged/gets married/has a baby, I’m gunna puke,” and I always feel a little embarrassed. But even though our situations and life experiences are vastly different, I feel like the majority of us share this weird I’m-no-longer-an-adolescent-but-I’m-definitely-not-a-grownup complex.
I guess what I’m saying is: if there are any 15-year-olds out there reading my blog, it gets better. But then kinda weird again.
What about you? Are you a 20-something feeling stuck in an awkward phase? Show some solidarity!