By Dannie Elizabeth
Had you asked me ten years ago what my life would look like right now, I would’ve described something that looked like a Friend’s episode. 25, newly married, living in NYC and having a steady income, like Ross (pre-divorce #3).
Five years ago? Maybe more Sex and the City – the marriage idea would’ve been out the window but I’d still be living in NYC and financially stable, like Carrie. I’d be running around NYC with my girlfriends, living it up at fabulous parties and drinking cosmos to my hearts content.
Either sitcom, I knew I’d be independent and not living at home as a 25 year old. Hell, even the girls on Girls don’t live with mom and dad and they don’t even work. How hard could it be?
Now, as my time in Thailand comes to a close, I’ll be moving back into my childhood bedroom…as an “adult”. Move into NYC immediately? “No chance in hell,” says my bank account.
I thought by now I would have had this epiphany where I woke up and said, “Yes, today is the day I leave childhood behind, I am officially an adult and everything makes sense to me”. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that’s not how it works.
Am I less of an “adult” than my friends at home working 9-5 for the man?
Maybe in some people’s eyes. But just because I spend my weekends under an umbrella, cold beer in hand, doesn’t mean I don’t work 40 hours a week, have my own health insurance, and pay my own bills. It’s definitely not what I expected, but I don’t hate it!
If I’m not paying rent, does that mean I’m not an “adult”?
We all know it’s better to own than it is to rent. Rent-free or mortgage-free aren’t usually phrases thrown around by people my age. I’ve been lucky enough to have scored free housing through my job, but that’s doesn’t mean I live in a dorm with 5 other people, nor does it mean I’m still in college. I’ve had to wait around for plumbers like everyone else, I’ve been cautious of my water and electricity usage, and bought my own washing machine because it made more sense financially – I’d say that’s fairly “adult” of me, even if I don’t cut a check to my landlord every 1st of the month.
After graduation, when my friends who studied finance got jobs on Wall Street and my advertising friends started their Mad Men lives, I waited for something else – something that would make me happy. I didn’t want to pick the first job that best fit the description on my diploma.
Am I still asking myself, “What will I be when I grow up?” You bet. But so what? Who says that to become an adult you have to complete X, Y, and Z? Pay rent, get married, have babies? Not just yet, thank you very much.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized becoming an adult isn’t as cut and dry as we think it is. It’s growing up and being able to make decisions on your own and take responsibility for them. Just because you don’t follow the mold of what people around you think it is to become an “adult” doesn’t make you a child. If you want to take the path less followed – go for it! Don’t hold back because you’re afraid of what people may think or how they’ll compare you to your friends.
They haven’t written the sitcom of my life yet and I’m not waiting for them to do it. While I may be almost 25 and getting ready to move back home for a bit, I’ve accomplished more than my 15 year old self had imagined I would. I may not have a ring on my finger or a mortgage in my name but I have lived in three countries that exposed me to different cultures and languages. I’ve eaten exotic foods while watching the sun set over picturesque beaches. I’ve met friends from all walks of life, who will always be there to offer up a couch or share a bottle of wine as we reminisce about our days as expats. And to me, that beats the crap out of any Friends episode…even the one when Joey gets his head stuck in the turkey. Really, how adult is that?
Dannie got on her first plane to Canada at the tender age of nine months and since then she hasn’t stopped. She currently lives in Thailand where she works as an ESL teacher and gets her travel fix on the weekends. Her most recent escapades can be found on her blog, Eat Well, Travel Often. Dannie also contributes monthly to the popular NYC fashion blog, Merci New York.