It could have been as early as 15 - but definitely by 20 - that I decided that 35 was my scary "real adult" age. That it didn't matter how much I screwed up throughout my late teens, entire twenties, and early thirties, I really had to have my life together by the time I turned 35.
Lord, how those years flew by. I remember thinking, "I've got 15 years left 'til then" or "I've got 5 years left 'til then" and now I'm thinking "I've got eight hours left 'til then."
I don't see any major maturing going on between now and midnight, especially since I'll be having some cocktails with friends later this evening.
I mentioned this whole life theory to a friend who basically asked what it was I didn't think I had - I'm married, I've got the house, dogs, kid, good job. Health insurance. I pay my bills. I stayed home today with a sick kid and got puked on by her in Target. I actual squealed with delight when I realized the first presidential debate was on this Friday night. I claimed to Greg that watching it would be a "hot date." The other day, when checking the mailbox for birthday cards, I was even more excited to find a jury duty notice addressed to me - a first-ever. There is a part of me that thinks not only am I a real adult, I'm a lame-ass real adult to boot.
I suppose I expected to feel more grown-up at this point. As mentioned, I've got all the trappings of an adult. I definitely don't care what people think of me as much as I used to. I don't feel comfortable shopping in Abercrombie & Fitch anymore. I feel weird if I wear t-shirts with "funny" sayings on them. Clearly, there is some degree of growing up that has happened. But deep down, I just don't feel like an adult. Let's face it, my primary hobby, theater, is rooted in make-believe. I spent time today pondering if I should watch the first season of "Gossip Girl." I cannot wait until "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" comes out on DVD.
The thing of it is, I really don't think most of my peers are that much more together than I am. I don't look around and think, look at all of these adults! To me, there is a level of humor that my generation - Gen X - is now retro, that I graduated from high school 17 years ago, that Sarah Palin is a mere 9 years older than me, that I have to go to a potty training seminar in a couple of weeks, that the same friends I have playdates with now are the ones who I drank myself sick with in college.
Here's the good news. I love being in my 30s leaps and bounds more than my 20s, and so to celebrate another birthday in this decade is a good thing. And while I still might think the word "poop" is funny, I am otherwise proud of all that I've accompished so far. And there's nothing scary about that.