I have passed the age of 18. I drive a car. I have a full-time job. I pay bills. I am an adult.
What nobody seems to tell you about the years after high school and college is that you never really feel like you are an adult. Most of the time, I still feel like I’m “faking” it and I’m going to be found out at any moment. It’s as if someone is out there watching my every move and is going to take away my adult card because I’m just not doing it right. What “it” is, I don’t think I’ll ever know.
Sure, I go through the motions of a typical office job, rent an apartment of my own, and can get into clubs without a fake i.d. but I still don’t feel like a grown-up.
As a kid, I was so eager to turn 13, entering my teenage years and feeling more grown up every year. When I was 16, I could finally get my license and drive into limited freedom. 18 brought me the right to vote, sign contracts, and purchase cigarettes. The party began at 21 when I didn’t have to slide the 21+ wristband off my friend’s wrist and onto my own and could finally show my own i.d. when I ordered a drink. After that, it was all downhill.
Even though the number of years of my life keeps getting higher and higher, my mind refuses to let go of the dreams I’ve spent a lifetime imagining.
As ridiculous as it may sound, I continue to imagine a life of grandeur as I did when I was a little kid. A part of me believes that I will be walking the red carpet of Hollywood, either on the arm of a famous actor or as a celebrity in my own right. I honestly believe that given the chance, I would get along very well with Prince Harry and Jason Segel. I longingly browse the online listings of estate homes in the multi-million dollar range and cross my fingers with the hope of “one day” when I’m a talk show host—a career that seems absolutely perfect for me and entirely entertaining.
Yes, I can see myself as a combination of some of the great women of talk shows. I would dance like Ellen DeGeneres, get high-profile interviews like Oprah Winfrey, have the biting wit of Chelsea Handler, and maintain the elegance of Barbara Walters. After I have proven myself through three successful seasons (one could be luck, two could be a fluke, three would mean business), I will become the network darling and receive an extended contract worth millions of dollars and a book deal. I will no longer have to worry about whether to renew my lease or buy a place of my own. I will be free of student loan debt. I will not be tied to a job that does not fulfill me. I will have made it.
Of course, I don’t expect overnight success. No, I see this dream taking some time because let’s face it, I don’t exactly know anyone in the business, I’m not making any strides to move forward with this plan, and I don’t resemble a size-0 runway model.
But alas, I know my place in this world. In all, it’s just a fantasy. A fantasy I won’t relinquish because I am an adult.
No matter how old I get, I can’t seem to abandon the dreams of my youth. Though they have changed—posters of Devon Sawa are no longer plastered on my walls and I don’t think I’ll make the Olympics gymnastics team—I still dream big.
I believe that one day I will have the house of my dreams with children and a partner to share it all with. Though the house may not be an eight-bedroom mansion with a built-in movie theater, it will be made a home with little feet thumping through the halls, the smell of baking in the air, and family photos adorning the walls and mantlepiece.
I may never become a talk show host, Academy Award winner, or wife of a royal, but at the end of the day, I will be happy. Happiness is the one dream that I refuse to let go from my childhood.
And neither should you.