I spent a week in Rhode Island with my family, this time as a woman engaged to be married. I wondered if it would feel different. Was I an adult now? I wasn’t sure. I have been wondering for a while now, when I would finally feel like a grown up. As it turned out, it didn’t happen when I bought a townhouse. It didn’t happen when I moved thousands of miles from home. It didn’t even happen when I made a budget on an Excel spreadsheet and actually used it. Nor did it magically happen when I turned 30.
So it should not have been surprising that on both legs of my journey from Denver International to TF Green, my theory was busted. I was conducting an informal science experiment (pardon the oxymoron), my hypothesis being that my engagement ring would surely add 3-5 years to my presumed age. As it happened, two out of two strangers sitting next to me in flight asked whether I was a student. Preliminary data collection therefore indicates that having a ring on the subject’s finger bears no relationship to strangers’ probability of assuming said subject is still a student.
Upon my arrival to Rhode Island there was much fuss among my family and friends around me and my good news. I relish attention, so I loved this. In between loving the way my new ring sparkled beneath the recessed lighting of my mom’s kitchen, glittered in the smoky air of Twin Rivers Casino, and mesmerized me between sips of coffee at the Starbucks in Wayland Square. I am not kidding, the lighting in Starbucks is truly sublime.
I also loved having sleepovers with my sister in our parent’s guest bed. This was decidedly not so adult. I tried very hard to get along with my mother the whole week. I imagine real adults don’t have to try as hard as I do. I held my 9 month old niece and said things like “Aunt Pam loves you!” in squeaky tones. This felt sort of adult, if only because I grew up with an Aunt Pam of my own. I ordered wine with dinner at a nice Italian restaurant with my mom and dad. This was definitely more adult than the way I used to drink wine (ie gulping from a coffee mug, on an empty stomach, in my college dorm kitchen).
At first, I felt like more of an imposter than a grown-up every time I said the word “fiance.” And I said it a lot. As in “My fiance and I are thinking of a June wedding.” “Do you have a brochure I can show to my fiance?” “My fiance has a bunch of mismatched, chipped dishes he’s had since college and he doesn’t understand why we need to register for a new set!?! ” I think I am getting the hang of it now.
Will I miraculously feel like a grown up when I serve meals on the matching white dishes I have my eye on? Doubtful. Will it finally happen when I call Dan my husband? I have no idea. I am starting to think feeling grown-up is like trying to touch the horizon. I keep getting closer, but never quite there. I suppose the only thing to do then, is enjoy the journey, now with my fiance beside me.