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Does drinking coffee make you a grownup?

Posted: March 19, 2013 2:02 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Recently, I’ve had to go through some big adjustments due to the fact that I now have a “grown up job.” I was kind of under the impression that once I landed one of those I would start to feel, you know, like an actual adult. And I mean I guess I do in the sense that I have deadlines and more responsibilities and a paycheck but other than that… no, not really. It’s been a hard adjustment, to be honest. Having to wake up while it’s still dark outside, going to bed while it’s still light outside, realizing I don’t have a summer or spring break. It’s been a really tough couple of weeks having to come to term with these facts of my new life.

Surprisingly, though, even with these new adjustments I still don’t feel like a “real adult.” I think the key thing I’ve noticed that sets everyone else apart from me in the view that they are “real adults” is the fact that they all like coffee. I just don’t get it. I hate coffee. Is there a way to drink it without feeling like you overdosed on Adderall or is that just how you’re supposed to feel when you drink it? Is it a feeling you get used to? How do you make it taste better without adding a lot of sugar because I know that is probably bad for you? Does it still count as coffee if there is more cream and sugar in it than coffee? Is it possible to substitute something like hot tea for coffee and still be considered a grownup?

Basically what I’m getting at is this: is everyone growing up but me? Or is this just sort of how everyone feels but they are just better at hiding it because they drink coffee and ask for kitchen supplies for Christmas?

When I told my friends about my new job, their response was usually something along the lines of “Oh, so you have a real job now?” So, yes, while I do have a real job and adult responsibilities I still don’t feel like an adult yet. It’s one of those things that you think will happen next. Like in middle school I knew that once I got to high school I’d feel more mature and closer to being a grownup. And I knew that once I got to college I’d figure out exactly where I wanted my life to go. And then after college I’d definitely have it all together. That wasn’t the case at all, though. While, yes, I’ll admit I have matured and grown up at least a little bit from my days at Camden Middle School, I still don’t feel like I’ve achieved that big goal of being an actual grownup. I don’t even feel as though I’m remotely close to being there. I have friends who are engaged or married or in med school and have the next 10 years of their lives planned out right down to the shower curtain they’re going to have in their first guest bathroom. Those things feel so foreign and far away to me. While I still feel as though I’m young, I can’t help but feel somewhat nervous when I think about how far behind in a “life plan” I am than others my age.

So here’s when I ask for your advice. When, exactly, do you start feeling like an actual adult? Or is that just a myth and everyone actually still feels like a kid pretending to be an adult? Maybe coffee is the key. Maybe once you start drinking and liking coffee that’s when you become an adult. It’s like it’s a secret formula that as soon as you’re a “real adult” you magically can drink it while keeping a straight face. Or maybe that’s just a big hoax as well and everyone is pretending to really like coffee as well to go along with the whole pretending to be a grown up thing. What’s the secret that I’m missing out on? I’m almost 98 percent sure it’s simply the coffee aspect of life but if that’s not it, I would be really interested to know what the real secret is. In the meantime, I will enjoy my hot tea and hope people mistake it for a cup of very lightly colored coffee.

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