Kid Stuff

My whole life I have felt too young to be where I am at. I feel like it’s a facade that I am 24 and living on my own. I feel like this half kid who has somehow gotten everyone fooled in this world of adulthood and it’s only a matter of time that I am discovered and sent to my room for lying.

I get paid to ensure that two precious lives live to see the end of their day. Jesus Christ.

I am in charge of my well being, my hygiene, my money. And let me tell you, once I discovered I could buy body wash for a dollar I knew I would never spend more money than that  on body wash ever again, even if it was inconvenient for me to do so and even if it meant I went body wash-less for a few days before I could get to the correct dollar store that had it. Same goes for dish soap and carrots. I have learned that about myself. Scary.

Technology makes it easier to be a woman-child. I’m terrible at math but thanks to my smart phone I have a handy dandy tip calculator for fancy restaurants. Google maps is my sense of direction. And email alerts are prompt when it comes to account overdraft every 28th when I again forget to transfer money for my student loans.

The truth of the matter is, I make it up as I go along. I don’t really know how to do my makeup or what my actual bra size is, but I buy bras (once a year) and makeup (for a dollar) and use them anyway. I wear my shoes until the last possible second not because I am that poor but rather because I hate the process of finding “adult” shoes. I either overshoot and they look orthopedic or undershoot and they fall a part in a week.

I usually just wait for my mom to take me to Kohl’s when I’m home for Christmas.

But feeling like a kid goes beyond my lack of consumerism savvy. I think it’s a way of being. Perhaps it is because I am the youngest in my family or frequent young one at social gatherings, but I feel like I automatically assume my peers are older than me unless otherwise told. In fact, I prefer being reminded I am young. It would make 13 year old Alison who thought she could publish a book when she was 14 and star in the Disney movie version of it at 15 and be super rich and famous feel okay about being 24 and not famous yet. I like knowing I have a lot of time left but on the flip side why do I also  feel so far behind?

When I graduated high school, I couldn’t believe I was old enough to graduate high school. When I graduated college, I couldn’t believe I was old enough to graduate college. (And today, more importantly, I can’t believe I am older than ALL college kids.) I couldn’t believe I was in my friends wedding as a bridesmaid and not a flower girl… you get the idea.

And all of this makes me wonder, does everyone feel this way? Is it an unspoken truth? When I validate my “I’m not sure how to file taxes, so I’m gonna totally guess” decisions, I remind myself that I have never been 24 before and that I’m still learning. But if that’s true, is it true the nobody else knows what they’re doing either? At any age? Once I am 25, it will be the first time I am 25. Once I am 26, it will be my first time I am 26. etc.

I think about my mom when she was my age. My mom got married when she was 24, June of her 24th year to be exact. Since she has a birthday in February, I am already older than she was when she got married. It totally mind trips me. Did she feel adult enough to be married? Or was she terrified and like me, just making it up as she went along? I hope it’s the latter, but I look at pictures from those years and it just doesn’t seem that way. She looked ready to be married. I have been with my boyfriend for almost five years and I couldn’t be further from ready. I mean, I still refer to him as a boy. (Not to demean him or anything, he’s plenty manly and stuff, I just feel weird thinking that young girl me is dating a man, you know? Point proven.)

Maybe this woman-child epidemic is a product of our generation. Here we are in a world that wants us educated and strong and independent and not rushing into having kids and blah blah blah,and I wonder,  is it just that we’ve slowed down the mental aging too?  The women’s lib movement has never been more powerful than it is now, is this adult growth stunt just an unfortunate by-product?


Because if the  feminist theory is true than I am certainly not doing the “focus on the career” path justice. I mean, I am focusing on my career, I guess.  But I am not a business suit wearing, drinks her coffee black, “I’ll pencil you in” kinda gal. And supposedly that is what needs to be happening in lieu of not having kids yet. Not my excuse for not having kids, which is that I am in fact still a kid. I’m still at the wayyyyy bottom of the “working girl” food chain.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go pick up a baby who is crying and totally hypothesize what the fuck she is crying about.

Her teeth? Not sure if I am right, but she’s asleep now. Is it wrong that when I put her down all I think is “don’t die while sleeping baby.” When I check on her, I poke her to see if she move to know that she’s still alive. Quality adult nanny, right here.

I think honestly this whole still-feel-like-a-kid thing is a mixture of all of the conspiracies I’ve talked about. It’s a little bit of our generation’s stalling tactics plus a hint of everybody being in the dark mixed in with a nugget of truth that I am fooling everyone.

The other day I was on the el and I happened to get in the car that was housing around twelve high school kids who must’ve had a half day or something. That was the first time I did acknowledge that I have aged. They were playing MASH with pens on their hands and sat on each other’s laps and sang a 30h3 song in unison, emphasizing the fuck word and the shit word and the hoe word. Two kids even sat and made out. Totally making out on the CTA. And I laughed. Of course they were making out! They were 15 and probably weren’t allowed in each other’s bedrooms yet.

So, I know I am not so foolish to believe that I am forever the gawky sad 17 year old I once was. I mean, after four years of dating my parents finally let my boyfriend sleep in the same bed as me in their house so I know I’m racking in the adult points.

That said, the other day at the park I heard a 7 year old say “Hey Paul! Or may I call you Chicken Butt?” and nearly died laughing. Chicken Butt. Classic.

I’m not knocking my profound naivety, more just acknowledging it. Because in the end, I got everyone fooled, including myself.

When I grow up, ( and I know I haven’t yet you just all think I have), I want to be a famous writer. Good thing I have plenty of time.

–      One L

“A can seems simple while a can opener seems very complex. Unless you lose the can opener and then suddenly a can becomes very complex.”


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