adult |əˈdəlt, ˈadˌəlt|


I’ve technically been an adult since I turned 18 years old in 2011.

I only just realized it very, very recently.

Graduation: the last major hurdle before impending adulthood

Graduation: the last major hurdle before impending adulthood

Jess’s article about being part of the Boomerang Generation really stuck with me, and I got to thinking about how the different generations compare. NPR is always totting the statistics to me: now, more than ever, Millennials aren’t reaching the classic milestones as quickly as their predecessors. We’re putting off buying houses and cars, getting married, and more. It’s the norm now – and this is especially true for many, many people I know – to move home with mom and dad to save money and to get their lives together before they embark out on their own. Seemingly, adulthood (as its been classically defined) is being delayed.

If you’ll graciously allow me, for just a moment more, I’d like to re-visit some well known facts about my 22-year-old self: I’ve moved cross-country, I have my first full-time adult job post-college, I pay all of my own bills (including rent), and I can make phone calls to strangers without getting nervous and hanging up. By all means, I am a mostly-developed human being.

So why haven’t I felt like I’m apart of the adult demographic?

The other night, I was home alone after work for the first time in a good while. I cooked up an actual meal, settled down on the couch, and eagerly switched on some mind-numbing TLC via Netflix. My choices were limited, so I ended up going with What Not to Wear.

At the start, my inner critic came out full force and I found myself yelling at the hosts on the screen.

Clinton & Stacy

Clinton & Stacy

“She LIKES her T-shirts and jeans, WHY CAN’T YOU LEAVE HER BE?” And so forth. The episode was about a production assistant in Hollywood who had been feeling pretty lonely since arriving there. The stylists threw away her boxy clothes, revamped her hair, and applied some smoky eye – voila! She was a new woman.

By the second episode, my ‘boos’ were more subdued. I watched as Stacy and Clinton plucked a 22-year-old woman off her trapeze (by day, she was a hairstylist) and out of her tight, fur-clad ensembles. At first, she put up a fight. She was a really great person, she insisted, once people got to know her. But first they had to get past her bold and mismatched style.

I agreed with her. She should be able to wear whatever she wants! It’s her body, her life. How dare other people refuse to sit in her chair at the hair salon simply because she had paired a bustier with zebra leggings and called it an outfit?

Stacy and Clinton sympathized with her (as much as they can, I suppose), but calmly explained that we don’t live in a utopia. We live in a society where people’s impressions of you begin the moment you walk in the door. What you’re wearing, how your makeup/personal grooming is, and how you’ve done your hair are all, unfortunately, factors. Unless you’re rich and famous, and then you can do whatever you want.

I began to see What Not to Wear in a new light. Sure, it still had its downsides (e.g. some unnecessary slut shaming). Nonetheless, it brought something important to my attention: I may be this twenty-something adult in Los Angeles, but my appearance hasn’t quite caught up. Call me stubborn, but I found a look that suited me a long time ago, and have since refused to change it. Long slightly wavy mermaid-length hair, tank tops and loose blouses, big glasses, a swipe of mascara, dark wash skinny jeans, and Sperry Topsiders. Comfort, minimal effort, and maybe an ounce of style were involved. Maybe not even, if you’ve seen photos of me from any family holiday gathering.

At my most hipster.

At my most hipster.

As previously mentioned, I’m a job holding adult. Not a chai sipping college lass poring over film theory books in the library. Something, finally, has to give.

Luckily, as an office production assistant, the transition won’t be too difficult because the dress code is very lax. Still, it’ll be important to find a balance between comfortable to move around and work in, and professional. I’m starting to realize why people keep mistaking me for an intern – I’m still working that inexperienced/student vibe. With a little inspiration (hello, Pinterest) and a bit of shopping, I’m going to give my look a swipe of chic adulthood. Soon, I won’t be anyone’s intern-look alike.

Except on the weekends, when I shall continue to wear bear pajama shorts and no makeup and parade around my apartment as I please.

p.s. For an interesting read, I encourage everyone to check out this article from The New York Times about how the adult as we know it is dead in America {I got a haircut anyways}.



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