For my college essay, I wrote about what it meant to be an adult. The argument was something along the lines of being an adult has nothing to do with your age, but rather is the sum of your experiences, responsibilities, personality traits, and reactions to the world around you. With that definition, I made the case of my being an adult from a very young age. Because of the way the world had treated me, and how I chose to react. Adulthood and maturity went hand in hand for me, knowing very well that acting like a child when faced with adult like problems wouldn't get me too far in life, or at least not as far as I'd like to go. While yes, I still acted like a child often, whether it be playing games, watching TV, or just being a little brat about any given topic or disgruntled condition, I had an overarching perspective-- a more weathered personality of someone who had been through it, even just a little. I was accustomed to remarks of "Oh wow, you seem so much older." And "I'm a freshman" "In college?" "No, High School..." Those uncomfortable moments when the world wants to see you as an adult, but feels simply for the sake of your age, you must not be. In our culture, the sum of your years too often accounts for more than the sum of your experiences and actions.
Finally last week, as a freshman in college, I felt like an adult. Oh yes my cliche friend: the coming of age story, the Bildungsroman, the moment of definition any college essay might have liked to hear. It's ironic that this moment is only socially acceptable to come AFTER you graduate, but whatever, I'm not bitter.
This is not the first moment I felt like an adult, but rather the first moment I felt like society and I agreed on that fact. I had the causal experience of a dinner with friends at Boston Burger Company on a Tuesday night. We Ubered there, making a joke of the birthday girl as she took photos of the sunset, calling her a "white-girl" (but secretly joining in), and laughing into the restaurant and through the meal. As we ate I felt the calories I consumed from the burger were all used up in my laughter. I sat across from the couple in our group of roommates and friends and ate my way through the night in jokes and fries and an astounding feeling of belonging among my new friends and the general world.
It wasn't that we were older, that we had money to spend all ourselves, or that no one could tell us what to do. Those were too obvious. It was the fact that we were a friend group constructed of different backgrounds and parings, opinions and experiences, all melded together into laughter and most importantly- food. We disrupted the expectations of youth in a restaurant, our parents had not brought us, this wasn't our first time out, and we had no bedtime. We were free, free to act like an adult and be taken as one. Regardless of our childish jokes, the waitress laughed with us because she was our age. I think I finally felt as though I was living in a world of my peers as opposed to striving to prove myself in a world where anyone with a high school diploma, or whatever the hell they think is more valuable than my mind, could discount my ideas, opinions, or validity.
I finally felt like it was socially acceptable to be an adult, and I'm thankful for my friends for letting me feel that way. It's gonna be one heck of a year at college.