Adulthood always seemed glamorous. As a six-year-old demanding to wear my “princess dress” absolutely everywhere, I was convinced I would make a career out of being a “part time nail technician, part time rock star” and it would provide me a massive mansion and a life full of glamour and endless supplies of the candy my parents told me I couldn’t eat. I would stay up as late as I wanted, and watch “grown-up shows” on MTV.
Fast forward to 2012, and I’m standing in the empty room that was once “mine,” ready to move my things to a new city and begin the rest of my life.
After being up all night packing and organizing I took one last look around my room and realized that it no longer looked or felt like mine. What was once the oasis of my childhood was now void of any comfort or sense of belonging it had once provided me. It was just a room. A guest room, and I was merely a guest.
Being in your childhood bedroom is like seeing an ex: You feel pings of nostalgia and remember what it was like to feel totally secure and at ease, but then the memories subside and become baggage that you box up and take with you or decide to just leave behind. Perhaps this is just the human experience. It’s what happens when you get older; you change, and so does everything else. It is the ultimate bittersweet moment between childhood and adulthood.
I write this on the plane from New York back “home” to Tallahassee, in between furniture shopping on Craigslist and determining which Facebook photos will go in which frame. Exciting, sure, but something about moving into a new place makes me want to do nothing but fly back home and lay on my carpeted floor, under my sunroof’s view of the stars, like I did as a kid. Part of me wishes for a curfew and wants to be yelled at for my unmade bed. When did that stop? No one tells you about this part. You never think you’ll consider the price of toothpaste and hand soap… it’s always been in the medicine cabinet, hasn’t it? Choosing your future has always seemed so exciting, but living it? I’m terrified, and if you aren’t, you’re lying.
From the day you learn Santa Claus is non-existent* on, you lose a part of your childhood every day. You get a boyfriend. You get your period. You get your license. You get a job. Then, one day, you’re walking out of an empty room and hugging your parents good bye. Slowly, the safety net is pulled out from underneath you. Then, one day, you’re in a grocery store comparing the quality and prices of hand soaps and laundry detergent. This is far from the glamorous adult life I’d had in mind as a six-year-old in plastic glittery high heels. Where is fabulous my boa now?
I think what’s important in this moment, in our early twenties, is that we seize this opportunity. It would be so easy just to run from it, stay a “kid” for as long as we can, but it is in this moment that you define your future. That’s when you decide to grab life by the horns and, as my best friend Kelsi would say in her poignant and blunt way, “Carpe the SHIT out of this diem.”
Life is yours for the taking. Rise and grind, ladies and gentlemen.
*My apologies to breaking the news to all the Santa believers out there.