I turned 28 last month, and if I’ve learned one thing as I get closer and closer to 30 it’s this: adulting is a spectrum. It’s an ever-changing ebb and flow. Some days you’re like, “I’m so put together and professional. I’m the epitome of a grown up. Everyone could learn from me.” Other days you’re like, “Help? Someone? I need adult supervision over here.”
A few days ago I was like I’m adulting some hard _____ wanna fine me, but first you gotta find me (Jay-Z voice). I’ve taken on more responsibility at work and picked up a new freelance client and am the maid of honor in a friend’s wedding and have been traveling a lot, and yet I felt like I was balancing things pretty well. There’s a lot on my plate and I haven’t missed a deadline or hurt someone’s feelings thus far. And I’m really proud of that.
Fast forward to 24 hours later and the ebb and flow has flowed back to me being a hot mess express. I was searching and searching for an e-mail I *knew* I hadn’t deleted, but just couldn’t seem to find. I realized a 2,000 word project I’d known about for weeks was due that day so get typing, Lauren. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I rolled up to the car dealership to get a routine oil change and tire rotation. The very sweet and attentive gentleman at the dealership (who must have thought I looked dehydrated because he offered me water on three separate occasions) inquired about my registration.
“Oh, it’s updated, believe me. I paid $300 in taxes to keep it that way,” I laughed.
He smiled very cheerfully, but then nicely informed me that the sticker on my license plate that indicates that the registration is all good was seriously outdated. Somehow I had forgotten that key step in the process. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I’d call the DMV and track down another one, but I felt so dumb. Some days I adult so hard, and other days I can’t even figure out how to keep my car legally on the road.
As he walked away, I sat and teared up a little bit. People my age have DOGS and HOUSES and KIDS and I’m driving around basically shouting to police officers, “HEY! Pull me over!” Will I ever not be losing e-mails and forgetting important things or scrambling?
Then I realized that the answer is no, definitely not. I look at the real, live adults who I truly believe have their shit together, and I know that even they have days where they feel frazzled and disorganized. My mom, one of the most on top of it people on this planet, forgets stuff. My dad runs a successful business, and there are times when you have to remind him twice about something because it slipped his mind. There are probably instances when Beyonce was supposed to do something and she waits until the last minute because her mind was elsewhere.
Adulting, for even the most exemplary of grownups, is a spectrum. Some days you’re on top of the game and some days you’re just trying to leave the house without forgetting to put pants on. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and never be embarrassed about welling up in a car dealership. Turns out everyone is so mesmerized by the TVs blasting daytime soap operas that no one’s paying attention to you anyway.