Adult by thirty

I've got one year.


Adult ladies do not swoon over Rhett Butler.

1) Gone With the Wind is a novel for sentimental middle-schoolers.

2) Rhett Butler is a condescending jerk.

3) You realize he basically raped her, right? And she liked it.

4) The desire for a strong, manly man to sweep you off your feet is not only a romantic fantasy but also a little bit sexist.

5) I am not an adult lady because I still swoon over Rhett Butler.

Wearing jewelry.

Adults do this, right? I sometimes wear earrings, if I think about them. My only earrings are from, like Target or Sam Moon. And I usually don’t think about them.

Sometimes I wear necklaces, but I don’t own very many of them. And I never wear a necklace and earrings at the same time. This feels showy. Also, I’m afraid they’ll clash. What is wrong with me. Do I need, like, a jewelry coach?

Making my bed.

This is something adults do on the regular, right? I mean, I make my bed if someone’s coming over. I don’t want to seem like a total slob. I make my bed when I’m changing the sheets, because obviously. And usually when I do a thorough or semi-thorough apartment cleaning I’ll also make my bed. Because it looks nice or whatever.

But adults make their bed every morning? Don’t they? Maybe if my parents had enforced this discipline on me as a child I’d be better at it. But they didn’t. Did everyone elses’?


You know what grown-up ladies have? They have nails that they don’t reflexively hide when someone looks at their hands. Even non-grown-up ladies usually manage to have nice-looking nails. Or at the very least, not icky-looking ones.

As far back as I remember, I’ve bitten my nails. In times of stress or times of relaxation, I’m just chomping away. Disgusting. I usually don’t realize I’m doing it until I’ve done it. It’s reflexive.

I’ve tried putting a clear coat of polish on, just to remind me before I start chowing down that I don’t intend to do this. But the shiny coat just makes me feel even more self-conscious about my nails.

I don’t need fancy nails. I don’t need manicures. I just need fingers that look like those of an adult lady, not a teenager with a nervous disorder.

Adult by Thirty.

I turned twenty nine this week. On Tuesday. Through most of human history, a 29 year old would be considered an adult. Practically middle-aged, really. Yet here I am, twenty-nine, no children, still in school (grad school), not married (and no prospects), no sense of direction (I got lost on the way home tonight), no money (waiting on student loan money to come in!), out of shape (seriously), and no health insurance. I am a cat lady. An old maid. I’ve officially surpassed the age at which one can be an Austen heroine. I go on a lot of first dates (hey-o, okcupid!), not a lot of others. 

So, I have a year. One year. It’s unrealistic to expect that I will have my PhD by the time I turn thirty, but here’s what I hope to have happen by then:

1) reasonable progress on the dissertation, achieved through a disciplined work ethic and a decrease in procrastination

2) in much better shape than today, facilitated by regular working out

3) some resolution of the existential crisis I’ve been in for the past chunk of my life (what’s it all about?)

4) romantic prospects. maybe?

I’m sure that’s not an exhaustive list. What else to adults do? They cook at home rather than eat out. They don’t sleep in until 9 just because they can. They go to bed at reasonable hours. They budget so they don’t end up stealing toilet paper from school at the end of the month. You know.