"You're so adult," a friend told me recently. "You're, like, a real person."
"Why?" I asked, genuinely perplexed. I'd just listened to "Call Me Maybe" and "Payphone" and Justin Bieber on repeat, so I wasn't exactly feeling adult. I'd also just signed a text LYLAS.
"For one," she said, "you're getting married. You actually frame things to put on your walls. And let me guess: You have stuff from both Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma in your kitchen."
I do — thanks mostly to my recent bridal shower. I glanced over at the shiny new salt, pepper, and sugar set on our dining room table and shrugged. "That doesn't make me an adult, though," I said. "It just means I've always loved playing house and I read too many design blogs for my own good."
"Agree to disagree," she said.
The thing is, I know what she means. There are a lot of pieces in my life that are starting to feel grownup: my job, my apartment, my soon-to-be marriage. Still, truth is, most days I feel 16. Maybe even 14. Just because years pass, that doesn't mean you lose the person you used to be.
"Growing up," I think, means that you can be whoever you'd like. You can be an adult in the corporate-and-white-picket-fence sense, or you can be an adult in the YouTube-reruns-til-2am, eats-cereal-from-the-box sense, and it doesn't matter either way. To me, the very definition of being an adult is that your life becomes yours — whatever you choose to make of it.
So maybe I have a 401K, an apron, a wallet stuffed with business cards. But I also have glitter nail polish and too-short shorts and an affinity for all things pop culture. For me, becoming an adult hasn't been a transition from one person to another: it's been sinking into the eclectic, unexpected combination of everyone I've ever been, all rolled into one. Refreshing, isn't it?