• Tue, Sep 25 2012

Big Girl Badge: I Was Born Grown-Up

This is a reader submission for our Big Girl Badge week. Tell us how you evolved from woman-child to woman, and you could win hundreds of dollars of prizes! (Send your 800 word submissions to Jennifer [at] thegloss.com or Ashley [at] thegloss.com) 

I have wanted to be a grownup since I was about three years old. Seriously. I guess I was a fairly cute child, and growing up with blue eyes and freckles in Honduras meant I got a lot of attention from passersby. When they’d stop and exclaim to their friends to admire the “chichí” (Honduran slang for baby), I’m told I used to become angry, stamp my foot, and insist I was a grownup. Apparently this was hilarious.

What was it about adulthood I so coveted? I think it was mostly what I perceived to be an adult’s freedom and independence. As an adult, I could manage my own household, come and go from it as I pleased, travel anywhere in the world that interested me, and engage in tantalizing adult conversation at dinner parties rather than be relegated to the kids’ table. People would trust me with responsibilities, I would earn a position of leadership at my job, and at home I would have a dog that I had personally trained to be the Best Dog Ever.

I guess I was a strange kid. Now that I’ve reached the sophisticated age of twenty-­‐four I think I’ve probably become extremely boring, but I’m pretty sure I’m also succeeding at being a grownup. I graduated with good grades from a selective private high school while also managing to teach myself to be a backyard beekeeper and become fairly accomplished on the violin, viola, and highland bagpipes. I went on to a prestigious liberal arts college, where I graduated early, with honors.

While I was there I founded what would become a popular club, engaged in independent research projects, and maintained my bagpiping skills by practicing before classes began in the mornings.

Post graduation I was accepted into a PhD program and moved across the country to start my studies, and that’s what I’m doing now. So far I’m on track to graduate in a few years, I’ve recently married my college sweetheart, we have a tidy apartment close to campus, I have time to be involved at my church, and I’ve never been in debt. I hope to be a university professor eventually. I can roast a duck, bake a pie, paint a house—inside or out, hang drywall, converse in three languages, harvest honey from a beehive, train a horse, sail a boat, evaluate a used car…my only problem is I’ve been such a straight-­‐shooter all my life that I don’t seem to have any amusing anecdotes to share about my growing up process. I think I was born a grownup.

Yawn? Maybe so, but I have to say I’m enjoying myself. I’m able to make time to do the things I care about, I’m able to come and go from the home I so coveted as I please, I have traveled all over Europe, North Africa, China, and Central America, I am invited to dinner parties and can make conversation with aplomb, and I am engaged and fulfilled by my job. I like being in charge of things, and I do a good job when I am. Whenever I’m in danger of seeming too boring I can always bust out the bagpipes. Or bees.

Hopefully the Best Dog Ever will come soon.

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  • Nat

    Well la di friggin da for you. Rub it in the faces of us perpetual women-children who changed majors 4 times, are in an insane amount of debt with no job prospects, have a messy apartment and a divorce under our belts, travel to such exotic places as Washington DC for vacation, and have no idea what we want to do with our life. Give yourself a gold sticker while I go drown my sorrow in another tub of Haagen Dasz I bought on my nearly maxed out credit card.

    • Elizer

      I like you.

  • Marissa

    I would much rather read the essay you write when you learn that subtle and not-so-subtle bragging can alienate “normal” people from finding you likeable. Although, if you stay in academia, you may not have the problem. Good luck!

  • Renee

    Yeah, I am having serious questions about this contest.

    Honestly, it sounds like things worked out great for you. That’s awesome. But it also sounds like you were born to a lot of great opportunities. You went to a private high school. Which means someone could afford to pay for that. Then a prestigious liberal arts college, and now a PhD program. That’s awesome, but some people were never given those opportunities, and that doesn’t’ make them any less of an adult. And you married your college sweetheart? Well, again, congratulations. But sometimes people have relationships not work out, and they are doing the adult thing by recognizing that and moving on. I’m not sure that being married by age 24 proves anything.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

      Actually, to be fair, I went to a private high school on scholarship (and so did many of my classmates) as well as a private university, again on scholarship. Simply attending private/prestigious/etc. schools doesn’t mean those opportunities are just given to you! :)

  • Julie Fielder

    Wow….did you guys (Gloss editors) decide to publish this just so you could sit back and read all the comments from us that would inevitably follow? (That’s what I would’ve done!)

    This girl (not a grown-up) sounds like she has never held a job (never had to work to support herself or all many hobbies), never faced adversity (which would account for the one-dimesional charactor-feel to her essay) and since she is not in debt, we know that someone else paid her way through highschool, college and grad school. Fortunate? Yes. “Born a grown-up”? Ha. Thanks for the wry chuckles, Gloss….love you!

    • Ben

      Yeah, she obviously had her way paid and never had to work… or she had a scholarship and double worked her ass off.

      In particular, I would like to note that she’s in a freaking PHD program. Having myself been enrolled in the latter, I know exactly how much work is involved for exactly how little pay. It is not a cushy job that one buys into, ever. Additionally, it requires academic fortitude consistent with a scholarship.

      This and many other truths can be highlighted which directly contradict the assumption that she never worked in her life. Stop it.

  • Nathalia

    Though I can relate to the feeling of wanting to be grown-up from childhood on, because I was the same way, but for different reasons, and I sometimes also have the feeling that I was prematurely grown-up at about 14-15.
    I am not married and I am still studying at 28, but lo-and-behold I am debtfree, I have had a job for over ten years now and I am doing fairly good at school, though not having gotten honours… being grown-up does not mean that you have to do everything perfectly and earlier than others. It just means taking responsibility for yourself and your actions without compromise and complaining.
    I think being grown-up is not what makes one seem boring, but perfection does. I still think you are admirable and nice though, and I love bagpipes!

  • Josie

    Good job. Nobody seems to have written that in simple earnest yet, so let me be the first.

    You had ambitions from the get-go and you made/are making them happen, no apologies to anyone for anything. If that’s not grown up, I don’t know what is.
    (I enjoy that you haven’t bothered to respond to the haters, by the way.)

  • L.

    Gag. This won the contest?! Really? This is just a lot of rather vain boasting. I mean if you read between the lines all of this is just “I’m pretty because I have blue eyes….blah blah blah…I’m great at everything…at a time when millions of people are in debt I HAVE no debt so I’m a grown up.”
    Fucking gross.