You know that game parents play when their baby first learns to walk? (Or, if you are like me, insert new puppy.) Mom stands on one side of the room and dad stands at the other, both calling to the baby in a rousing game of Who Does Baby Like Better? Mom stands on her side and pulls out every trick; arm waving, cookie promising, hand clapping and kissing. Depending on the couple’s competitive nature, dad may take it up a notch, promising a paid-in- full college tuition or a new cellphone as soon as baby can talk.
The baby looks back and forth, taking a few shaky steps in each direction, chewing on the offers presented by both sides. There are three options. Pick moms side and give up what Dad has to offer. Chose dads side and kiss those cookies buh-bye. Or, sit down in the middle of mom and dad and stress out because choosing is impossible. Literally. Both sides have some pros, some cons and both have presented such compelling offers, how is a baby to choose just one?
Well, as it turns out, I (or anyone ages 24-30) am that baby. Stumbling between my parents, who for the sake of this piece we will call Adulthood and Youth. I am standing in the middle, evaluating the perks and weighing the negatives of each side. Looking back and forth until I am dizzy. Sometimes I take a few steps in one direction, turn back around and look longingly at what I am leaving behind, let my legs collapse and sit where I was standing. At 29, I have yet to choose a side and very rarely make it past the center.
I spend half of my time day dreaming about being settled in a career and caring less about trivial things. I want to be financially comfortable and eventually start a family. I pay my bills on time, I work a full time job, and come home to put dinner on the table for my boyfriend and I every night. So adult, right? These dreams take me a few confident steps towards Adulthood.
Often though, the thoughts of careers and financial stability are interrupted by dreams of being wild. Dreams of being me and expressing myself any way that fits, regardless of societal norms. I want to wear clothes that are not business casual, dye my hair a plethora of unicorn colours and spend my money on lipstick, travel and nights on the town in the previously mentioned clothes and lipstick. These dreams creep in and make me question my previous confidence in adulting. I begin looking over my shoulder, slightly panicked and eventually hightail it back to Youth. I’m not ready.
The cycle is vicious. Back and forth. 401K’s vs. travel the States. Pants suits vs. miniskirts (but never REALLY pants suits..). Weekend housework vs. weekend hangovers. I am indecisive. Two versions of me are constantly battling to pick a side. I am Jekyll and I am Hyde. I am the mayor in The Nightmare before Christmas, smiling and frowning. I am a 29 year old female, stuck. And some days, the days when thoughts of “but what am I supposed to be” creeps in, I go crazy.
Someday, maybe, (after reading books, taking notes and studying convincing PowerPoint presentations regarding the pros and cons of Adulthood and Youth) I will find the guts to pick a side and charge it. Leaving the other side to eat my dust.
But for now, I am the girl at the hairdresser, letting the pink dye settle while I discuss my 401k,politics and my hangover.
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