I don’t know what it is, but as soon as I turned 27 I started to feel really old. I know, I know. Growing older is a privilege denied to many. Absolutely. But some days I wish I could go back to being a kid so I could avoid worrying about life plans and paying bills and being the last friend to get married/have a baby.
But the one thing I do love about being a grownup? My adult friendships.
When you’re in middle and high school, friendships are fragile. They’re based on whose mom can drive you to Cold Stone after practice or who invited you to the party they weren’t supposed to be throwing when their parents went out of town. I remember spending a good chunk of my childhood not feeling very secure in my friendships, and wondering if the people I was hanging out with the most actually understood me.
That all changes when you’re an adult. You have to put a lot more effort into your friendships, especially the long distance ones, so the connections that last are the real deal. You may not have as many random acquaintances as you did when you were in 10th grade, but the three or four friendships you do have are the kind you were hoping to find when you were writing emo stuff in your journal and listening to Dashboard Confessional (I just saw them in concert by the way, ’twas an amazing night.)
I spent last weekend in New York City with two of my best friends from college. Five years ago, a trip like that would have been focused on cramming in as many activities as possible. This trip was completely different. Sure, we did stuff, but we were mostly focused on catching up. As a fun side note, dipping popsicles in Prosecco is an amazing activity when it’s 95 degrees out in New York City. Or probably any city for that matter.
In July, my best friend from high school is visiting. We’ll lounge by the pool and go out, but we’ll also be happy just bullshitting together in my kitchen as we drink chocolate Zico and eat vanilla Special K for breakfast. Much different from making sure you’re seen talking to the right guys at the right party together.
The people I spend the most time with now definitely understand what drives me and what matters to me, and I think I’ve got a good handle on their priorities too. We’re actually invested in each other’s lives. We’re not just hanging out so we don’t feel like losers when we get back to class on Monday. While this doesn’t make the pressure of trying to be a real adult any less stifling, it’s still pretty kick ass. Being a grownup isn’t all bad.