This is not a fact I’m comfortable saying out loud. And yet…on Labor Day, I turned twenty-eight. I’m about to be married, have only a dissertation left between me and my last degree, and am pretty sure that my cells are dying at a faster rate than they’re replenishing. Late twenties, I am in you.
As such, I’m technically classified as an adult. We all know this is ludicrous, of course. Adult women don’t regularly board themselves into their offices, just because there’s a roach with talons roaming the house. They kill it with their bare hands, then get back to making deals, taking names, and—fuck all, I don’t know—sewing heirloom quilts or something. I was pretty sure that, when I finally made it to technical adulthood, some know-how would kick in. I’d be a-okay with doing the hard jobs and consuming five vegetables a day. My house would be spotless, since my loins would suddenly yearn to vacuum, and I’d take daily runs to keep my heart healthy.
That theory was, obviously, bunk. Kittens, I just ate a lunch that consisted solely of Coke Zero and string cheese. While sitting on the couch at noon. In a Reptar t-shirt.
What I’ve actually become really good at is pretending how to be an adult. You may know that I’m Cher Horowitz with a macaron addiction, but the world still thinks I understand what a 401k is. Masquerading as a grown-up is my jam. As such, I have some sage advice for other people who find themselves unexpectedly aged.
- Love Someone Older – I can’t stress this one enough. If you are at all concerned about your abilities to be a fully grown human, fix your affections on someone older and wiser. My dear professor is three years my elder—entrenched in his thirties for a whole year—and makes up for my youthful shortcomings. Like, that time when a giant roach disappeared in our house and he looked over at me from the kitchen, said in a soothing voice “Grace darling, please get up calmly and lock yourself in your office,” then killed the bastard on our ceiling right above where my head had previously been. His years have taught him bug zen and how to hang picture frames!
- Buy A Rug – You have your own dwelling! Woohoo! It’s time to decorate that habitat. Only, in order to do all that stuff from HGTV—painting, redoing cabinets, recovering sofas, making papier mâché llama heads—you have to spend a lot of cash. As you’re in your twenties and working some crappy starter job/finishing school, that’s probably not something you can handle. Instead, do all that other stuff slowly and just buy a rug. As a wise man once said, rugs really tie a room together. Slap some paint on the wall, buy a cheap rug from Amazon, and enjoy how adult your dairy-stained college couches look atop it.
- Learn How To Make a Souffle – Adults know how to cook. The ability to feed yourself is Survival 101: Emerging From the Goo stuff. In the event that you’re secretly eating Whataburger every night, there’s still hope. Learn how to make one really complicated dish, like a chipotle pork souffle, which you can whip up for parties. Your friends will marvel over your amazing culinary skills, while you can binge on cheese sticks in peace! This also works for hobbies. If you pick up a somewhat difficult hobby, like sewing or jai alai, people will think you way more competent at other life skills. Hildegarde can sew a dress, right? I’m sure we can trust her with our tiny spawn! She’d never feed it Pop Tarts and cover it in pure corn syrup!
- Wear Cardigans – If there’s anything I’ve learned from copious hours watching makeover shows, it’s this: layering is the closest thing we have to Harry Potter magic. Does that dress seem boxy? Cardigan! Want to wear a tank top to your adult dinner party, but worried about that giant iCarly logo? Cardigan! Need something that says I am a fancy lady who wears pearls, but don’t have the money for pearls? Card-i-gan! My closet is half sweaters, even though I live in TX. Some call this ridiculous, I call this being a grown up.
- Call Pest Control – Sometimes, houses get bugs. Sometimes, as I may have mentioned, these bugs are terrifying. Even worse, sometimes you wake up to find the plastic bag full of fresh baked “It’s Fall, Despite The Sweltering Outside Temperature!” ginger snaps gnawed through. All this, even though you faithfully clean the kitchen every night and used a Ziploc bag, like a damned adult. You will want to faint, which is totally cool, but when you wake from that stupor…call a pest man. After all, the real key to being an adult is knowing when to call in the experts.
Or, better yet, have your mature beloved from Sparkling Piece of Advice # 1 call them, as you whimper from the next room “There’s a mouse in the house…the house…the house…”
Addendum: Professor McGregor would like me to add that, despite what one might think from how often I’ve mentioned that roach, we don’t live in a pest-ridden hovel. It’s a perfectly charming 1950s hacienda in a perfectly charming octogenarian-filled neighborhood. We grow lilies!* We have a Wedgewood blue sitting room! We are not living in heathenish squalor, Aunt Gilda, I promise.
*Well, to be strictly honest, we’re not growing them, so much as not actively killing the ones planted by the previous owner.