Occasionally, I have been known to do some pretty grownup things. I show up to my full-time job five days a week, for instance. On the second day of every month, I make my student loan payments. I call my parents for reasons other than to ask for money. I keep myself decently fed, have purchased pieces of furniture I didn’t have to assemble myself, and hang out with other people who also do things like have full-time jobs and call their parents. If 16-year-old me could see 26-year-old me today, I think she would be impressed by my overall autonomy (but only for like a second, and then she would go back to prepping her speech and debate original oratory, because 16-year-old me was impossibly serious and didn’t have time to think about anything outside of her immediate five year plan).
More often than not, I have also been known to do some pretty un-grownup things and, well, that’s where it all gets a little messy. I was talking to my dad today on the phone in the dark (my kitchen light bulb blew out like, a week ago — I just haven’t gotten around to replacing it), and he was threatening to take me off our family cell phone plan after I accidentally mentioned I had shattered my iPhone screen when I tripped on the sidewalk in my new booties the other day and, um, smashed it (it still works though, so chill out, OK?). Then he asked me if I was even listening to him and I had to admit that I was only kind of listening to him, because my friend had just tweeted that Kylie Jenner dyed her hair gray and, I don’t know, some things are just more interesting to think about than others. Then I hung up, scrolled through Kylie Jenner’s Instagram page for a few minutes, wondered if I should dye my hair gray, and heated up some easy mac since the only items in my refrigerator were a half-empty bottle of screw-top rosé, a jar of pickles, and a bottle of salad dressing from like maybe two years ago. But then the cogs in my brain started doing this kind of weird thing where they sort of align a little bit, and as I was checking the expiration date on my old bottle of salad dressing, I had an interesting moment of self-realization — when it comes to being a grownup, I’m kind of a poser.
Which isn’t the worst thing ever, or anything, but it is an interesting truth to come to terms with, especially after you thought you were doing really great and all what with the full-time job and loan paying and everything. So then I thought the mature thing to do while waiting for my easy mac to cook was to pause for three and a half minutes and reflect on this new self discovery.
Unfortunately, the microwave timer went off before I was able to come to any real conclusions about what it means to be a fake grownup in a grownup world or anything like that. But I was able to come up with a pretty solid list of other things that make me a fake grownup, which I think was a very productive use of three minutes, because you have to be able to diagnose a problem* before you can correct it. That is basic medicine.
*Fake adulthood is not really a problem. It’s really just more of a state of being that may or may not make your life more difficult than it needs to be at times, like when you go to clean up the wine glass you dropped in the kitchen three days ago and realize you don’t own basic household items like dustpans.
In the spirit of self-improvement, here are 10 ways I failed at being a grownup this week:
1. I bought this Little Mermaid sweater and wore it to work:
OK, it was part of my “Halloween costume,” but I realized as I was getting ready for work that “hipster Ariel” is the look I’m pretty much going for every morning. Also, my friend is dressed up like a pizza cake.
2. I didn’t check my mail all week because if there were any unexpected bills in there or anything, I figured I didn’t want to know about them just yet.
This is a strategy I’ve been employing for several months, actually. Occasionally I will take a peek, but only when the mail person leaves sticky notes on my mail box asking me to clean it out.
3. I went grocery shopping but only ended up getting candy corn and cookie dough because I decided that instead of spending money on real things, I would buy the necessary ingredients to make candy corn on the cob, which is supposed to look a little something like this:
I got bored halfway through making this and ended up falling asleep to Grey’s Anatomy instead of cleaning up, which was a shame because I had big alternative plans for that pre-made tube of cookie dough I left out on the counter all night.
4. I went to a Halloween party where this guy had huge plastic flies glued to his shirt as part of his costume. I kept pulling them off and putting them over my eye like a monocle because I was trying to be “fly.”
There are pictures of this but they are terrifying, so I won’t share them with you.
5. I went to the gym solely to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion on one of those little TVs they have on the treadmills, because I don’t have a TV at home and didn’t know where else to turn for help.
I haven’t even been keeping up with this season — I just really love Andy Cohen’s reunions. It wasn’t on anyway, so see if I ever go to the gym again.
6. I googled several simple math problems that required the basic arithmetic skill set of a second grade honors student to figure out if I could afford rent, my electricity bill, and a Little Mermaid sweater this week (see above) without overdrawing my account.
But is this being a fake grownup, or is this being a resourceful grownup?
7. I whipped up my favorite Wednesday night dinner aka Pop-Tarts.
Whatever. Pop-Tarts are delicious. (I did not take this picture. A person on Flickr’s Creative Commons who has a similar passion for pre-packaged breakfast pastries took this picture, possibly proving that I am not the only fake grownup walking this Earth.)
8. I sheepishly had to beg the lady at the laundromat to look for the bag of laundry I dropped off two weeks ago and then promptly forgot all about until this morning when I found my pink pick-up slip in my purse.
Being a fake grownup can be quite humbling and a little embarrassing when you find yourself dealing with real grownups. (Don’t worry, she was able to find my laundry… close one though, huh?)
9. I looked up plane tickets for a weekend trip to Miami (woooooo I’M IN MIAMI BITCH) even though I have yet to book my plane tickets home for the holidays.
Mom, if you are reading this, I know prices go up the longer I wait, and I will get on this soon, promise.
10. I mused out loud about how if I were Taylor Swift, I would write songs with secret messages about cheese rather than my failed romantic endeavors.
One person actually seemed to think this was a great idea, which I guess just goes to show that fake grownups can be wise too, in their own special way.
Anyway, I’m not sure what any of this really means, or if I feel better about myself for putting it all out on the Internet. But if you’re out there reading this and you’re thinking to yourself “I knew I wasn’t the only one who ate Pop-Tarts for dinner,” then I guess I’ve done my part. We may be fake, but we ain’t made of plastic, ya know? There’s still plenty of time to grow… or whatever.