I've often wondered when I would feel like an adult. It wasn't when I signed the lease on my first apartment. That just made me feel like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, like surely someone was going to figure out that my living on my own was all a ruse concocted with the help of a Talkboy in slow-mo mode. It certainly wasn't when I got married: In some ways, the whole day felt like I was playing dress-up (in a good, loving, legally binding way). It definitely wasn't when I had my baby. Despite having him pulled out of my body, I kept thinking he was simply the child assigned to me by the hospital, who would figure out their mistake right before we went home with him, because why on God's green Earth would they trust us with a baby we'd just met? Truthfully, no amount of bills, children, or responsibilities have gotten me to that point just yet. Basically, my life is a series of realizations that I am actually no longer a weird 13-year-old, but then not believing that fact, and then trying to convince myself that I haven't been 13 in 20 years at this point, and that I am — whether I feel it or not — an adult.
Fortunately, pretty much every other adult I know feels between 15 and 20 years behind their actual age. My 51-year-old mother says she more or less identifies as 36. My 75-year-old grandmother is mentally stuck at 45. Me? Depending on the day, I range from about 7 to 20 (20 is when I'm having a really, really put together day). All this is probably not aided by the fact that my stay-at-home mom wardrobe is pretty identical to my middle school wardrobe (jeans, t-shirt, open cardigan, Vans), but I'm also guessing that the on-pointest among us will never outgrow at least occasionally feeling like we're middle-schoolers who have mystically creeped into an adult's life. Chief among those moments are...
Listen to Jennifer Lawrence. She knows what she's talking about. I am 33 years of age and currently rocking no fewer than three pimples. Yes, things generally get better as you get older (between hormones leveling out and finding products and skin care routines that work for you), but blemishes will continue to rear their ugly heads throughout your existence and whenever it happens, a part of you will mentally time travel back to 7th grade picture day when even your massive glasses, mouth full of orthodontia, and unibrow could not distract from the enormous pimple at the end of your nose.
Seeing Your Crush
Oh. You didn't hear? You can be the most happily coupled person on the face of the planet and you are still going to find yourself having crushes like a tween at a One Direction concert. From celebrity crushes to that absolutely adorable barista with flawless winged eyeliner who gets your order started before you even get up to the register, some people are just going to set your tummy aflutter with a million butterflies. These crushes are completely harmless fun, but they will absolutely make you feel like an addlepated goober.
First Couple Days With A New Haircut
It doesn't even have to be an awkward or bad haircut. Pretty much any haircut is going to take some getting used to (to say nothing of the learning curve that goes along with deciding how you'll style it). This style limbo can leave one feeling hapless and gawky, aka how pretty much all of felt for the duration of middle school.
Farting In A Public Restroom
Yes. We've all done it. Right before you start peeing or as you start peeing, a tiny little start-up far slips past the goalie. Despite the fact that we've all done it, we're all absolutely mortified when we do and someone is in the stall next to us. You'd think we'd grow out of that embarrassment, but nope.
Realizing Someone Is Watching You Sing Along To Beyoncé At A Stoplight
Me: *screaming the entire Hamilton soundtrack*
Guy in the car next to me: *staring*
Me: *finally looking over as I begin to flail my arms while rapping along to "Guns and Ships"*
GICNTM: *wry smile*
Me: *basically peeing my pants in embarrassment*
Any Locker Room Situation
Even if you're at complete ease with your naked body (and I hope you are!) there is just something about locker rooms, yo. I swear to God, there must be an evil, faceless corporation that sprays insecurity pheromones in through the vents so that everyone just feels weird... except for the people who seem totally comfortable lounging about completely nude. I'm not ruling out the idea that they just have a weird reaction to the same airborne chemical, though.
Your Frenemy Succeeding
I know. I know. There's a place in hell for women who don't help each other and this isn't a competition and we are supposed to be grownups and mature and above all this...but let's keep it real for a second. There are just some people who push all the buttons that you work really hard to ensure don't get pushed and OMG why do they look so good doing it? So some people just bring you into a really crappy, immature, juvenile headspace. Be aware, work on it, but don't beat yourself up if there continues to be someone out there who annoys the crap out of you well past middle school.
Getting Yelled At By A Parent
Their anger goes directly to our lizard brains...
Trying To Find Somewhere To Eat Lunch When You Don't Know Anyone In The Cafeteria
Is there anything worse than that feeling of not belonging anywhere? It's why the tweenage years suck so hard. You're trying to find where you fit in in your social ecosystem. Cafeterias are like a microcosm of that and it's daunting and awful.
First Day At A New Job
It's like a cafeteria but with responsibility. Responsibility upon which your rent and grocery bill depends. It's the worst.
As far as I know, Jennifer Lawrence is the only person who has made tripping look endearing. (And look at that, our list begins and ends with Jennifer Lawrence. It's the circle of life, y'all.) It instantly ruins any chill vibe you have going for you, from your panicked expression to your desperate attempts to correct yourself, to (if you're anything like me) the inhuman noises you make as you trip. Pretty much never going to feel like a real grownup ever.