Approaching Thirty With String Cheese

936full-gil-elvgrenI’m almost thirty.

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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…”

– Grace

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.

37 thoughts on “Approaching Thirty With String Cheese

  1. Goodness. I turn FORTY this November (cringe!) and am STILL waiting to grow up. I thoguht I might feel grown up when I moved out of home. No. When I bought my first home. No. When I got me a cat. No. When I got married? no. When I moved away from my entire family with my husband? No. Kids aren’t on the cards so I can’t clarify if I don’t feel grown up after having kids, but my bestie who has three of them also does not feel grown up. …

  2. I have just turned 31 this year and I still don’t feel like I am a fully-fledged adult. (Maybe I’m just on denial or I’ve been watching way too much “The Big Bang Theory.”) I love when you said this: “I just ate a lunch that consisted solely of Coke Zero and string cheese.” Haha! Somehow, that summarized just about everything what I think of and feel about being a so-called adult.

  3. So funny! I AM 30 and I pretend to be a grown-up every day. It’s a lot of fun! Coincidentally, I happen to follow many of the tips on your list (my husband is 19 years older than me–but immature for his age–and I wear cardigans quite regularly). Great tips!
    P.S. 30 is actually pretty awesome. Don’t be afraid. Your give a damn for what stupid people people think of you diminishes significantly, which I have found to be one of the better perks.

  4. I’m 42 and still don’t feel like a real adult, and I have kids and a responsible job and everything! I do wear cardigans though, so perhaps I’m slightly more adult than I realise. I hated turning 30, that seemed like a real milestone of leaving youth. On my 30th birthday I went jet skiing which I had never done before, and that was the perfect thing to do on a day like that when I was feeling how I was feeling about ageing, so I recommend something like that on your 30th! I minded turning 40 less for some reason, I guess I was resigned to ageing by then, sigh.

    • Vanessa-Jane, thank you so much for the comment! I’ve put jet skiing on my 30th birthday agenda, thanks to you. Doing something out of my comfort zone seems just the thing to welcome in a new decade. A brilliant tip.

  5. Very good! All my thoughts exactly (except I rock a Transformers t-shirt in stead of Reptar). We all have an image of what being an adult looks like, but what’s it supposed to feel like? Because I haven’t quite got that feeling yet… 😉

      • Hot Topic! It was on sale for so I quickly snatched it up as fast as I could. I got home and went to put it on…and it’s a t-shirt with the Decepticons on it!!! I was a little bummed at my stupidity at first, but now I’m kind of embracing my subconscious evil side!

  6. I am also approaching my thirties. So far today, I have eaten 2 cheese scones, 2 croissants, 2 biscuits and 1 slice of Victoria sponge cake. And 1 child size carton of apple juice. And there is a spider in the hallway. And yet.

    And yet.

    I have a plum tree which produces plums that I bake into cakes, a lovely old Victorian house with sash windows and I go to my neighbours’ houses for cups of tea and chitchat. I don’t think they realise I’m still a child. Don’t tell them, ok?

  7. Have you ever read (or heard of) the book “There’s a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell” by Laurie Notaro? I read it recently, an accidental pick from the library. It was okay, sort of like a mystery novel without too much murder. But anyway, totally reminds me of your writing style and your blog. I would like to read a book that YOU write! Or…is your alias Laurie Notaro???

    • Liss, you are now officially my favorite person ever. I’ve read Laurie Notaro before, but only her humor essays and find her utterly delightful. I wish my alias were her! Thank you so, so much for the comparison and, let’s be honest, wanting to read things I write whatsoever. You’re the best.

  8. We’re in the same boat. As I approach the fateful 30. I find myself wondering, what was all the hype about. Sometimes I wake up and forget that I’m a “grownup”. While I love my starter job, I realize I want so much more for my life. The idea of having kids scares me. Getting married even seems scary, but I guess at some point we have to bit the bullet and take it for what it is…. Cheers to you all on this Journey we call life 🙂

  9. I have just turned 25 which seems like an age where one should be an adult with adult type responsibilities and adult life skills and knowledge. In reality I probably would not make it through everyday life without google there to make me appear like I know what is going on. I read classics and have hobbies like knitting so people often are mistaken into believing I can handle life. Little do they know that on my days off I lay in bed watching hours of ridiculous tv shows like hoarders and honey boo boo. Its all about appearances! What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

    • Lizbeth, you are a wise, wise woman! At 25 I had not yet picked up any adult skills whatsoever, so you and your knitting are light years ahead of where I was. Honey boo boo on, I say!

  10. Great post! I’m 28 [Since May] and hardly feel adult at all. I have Rugrats [seasons 1-4] on my hard-drive, that runs through my PS3. So, while your wearing their merchandise, I’m watching their re-runs. I think our connection with that must mean we’re on some agreeable level of adulting, or something.

  11. Dreading the big 3-0. This time next year I’ll be a few months into being 30. Can not tell you how much I am not ready for turning 30! The only thing I have ticked on your list is the cardigan thing! And to be fair, I’ve always been a cardigan wearing person. Thanks to the eternal need for layers in England.

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