Some of my old university friends are getting married – one raciad* last weekend, another one had a wedding about a month ago. Some have started to raise families – one has a one-year old (I think), another, with whom I work, got a baby boy two weeks ago, another one has one on the way, with the girl he has been with since high school. Some of them have bought cars and houses and some have moved on to start their own businesses. One is a financial consultant, another is a supplier of various goods to his county’s government. The impolite term for him would be tenderpreneur. My cousin, the one I live with, looks like he is about to take the plunge. He has already met his girlfriend‘s parents and he spends more time with her than I have ever known him to with any one else. And me? The most pressing things for me are how I am going to get through the books I have and the ones I do not yet have, whether I will find good avocados to make sandwiches with because I am too lazy to cook and how I am going to find an equitable balance between my job and my social life.
I used to think being a grown-up involved a symbolic step, over which the inanities and annoyances of childhood were not allowed to pass, a bridge one crosses to find themselves in a wondrous land called adulthood, where you have life figured out, where the worries are minimal, where you can sleep as late as you want or as much, watch as much television as you can and eat junk food any time you felt like it, all without having your parents and other stuffy grown-ups (the irony) limit your doing any of these things. It was, ostensibly, an achievement that would imbue you with wisdom and knowledge and enough money to buy crisps and sweets and soda whenever you wanted. To some degree, that is true, but the more I talk with my friends, the less I am convinced that any of us know exactly what and how we are doing. From the chats I have had, no one really feels grown up or secure.
For one of my friends, adulthood was supposed to begin was when she got a job, then she did, but she still felt like a child. She thought she would transition into it when she moved out and she still did not feel the washing over of enlightenment. I know exactly how she feels. I seem perpetually stuck there, here, where I am not exactly young but where there are unspoken things I should have supposedly already accomplished. I have not officially finished school, I have not yet moved out on my own, marriage and raising a family are unicorns – they do not even exist in my fantasies. None of this bothers me. Moving out is the only thing that keeps me awake for a few extra seconds at night. I want my own space, so that I can be completely alone with my thoughts and myself. I think “this whole growing up” thing is something each of us has to figure out and define for ourselves. I am still navigating my way through adulthood. Avocado and peanut butter sandwiches always help.
*raciad – the closest Anglicized past-tense version of “kuracia”. Ruracio is the process and the collective of ceremonies that turn a man and a woman into marrieds.