What is an Adult Anyway?

My sister and I were out for a walk in the park today with my Parson Russell, Sophie, and we encountered this youngish couple with two dogs (Sophie did very well with them-her socialization skills are improving, I am pleased to say). We had a nice chat and of course they asked us what we do. This is seemingly a standard question as most people ask it, but not always a good one.

What if you absolutely hate your job, it’s not what you want to do, and it has no reflection on who you feel yourself to be? Or-like many of us currently-what if you are unemployed? I don’t know what other’s think, but it makes me feel kind of bad about myself, unwilling to say anything, and, probably coming off as a bit snobby.  It’s not the fault of the askers because, like I already said, I think it’s one of those questions we are told that we’re supposed to ask. (I did say that I wrote romance, out loud to strangers, so I’m quite proud of myself.)

Anyway, as we walked away, my sister and I got to talking about where we were at in life, how things had not gone the way we wanted or how we could have possibly foreseen as teenagers (I was a rebellious (no kidding, I had Smurf blue hair and hung out at a skate park) punk at that age so I’m not sure I was even thinking clearly).

-I am almost 32, I’m single and unemployed, with a small rented flat, and a degree that seems to be useless in the job market. I think that there are a lot of people in similar positions (especially with the lousy economy).-

This thought led to a bit of pontification. You see, talking to that couple in the park today-who were both professionals-I felt somehow diminished in their presence, like I was a younger, not so experienced person (although I think they may have been a bit younger than me.).

I’m quite convinced that this sensation stems from the fact that I have not achieved the milestones that society says I need to in order to achieve “adulthood” (see the previous paragraph on my situation).

Then I got to thinking, I’ve never actually felt like an adult. So what makes someone an ‘adult’? And what does such a person feel like? I suppose I could have existed in such a state for many years and been unaware of it. Is the word just a tag we use to say, “Hey, this person can buy alcohol now and go into debt”?

Do we all still feel large portions of that fourteen-year-old punk and seven-year-old dreamer inside us? I still like water fights, racing across a field, swinging, and trampolines, does that mean I’m immature? Or, is everyone else just pretending?

Rose Connelly

Addendum:

In Book World, I have finished the first draft of my novel (might have posted on that last week). I’m happy, but it still has a while to go editing wise before I’ll consider it done. And, congratulations to my slightly older sister (just one year) who finished the first draft of her very first novel!!! I’m proud of you.

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The Upside of Down (Economic Crisis)

Like many people out there, when the economy took a nose dive so did my plans and my finances.  I found myself with a hard-won degree and a year’s experience at a newspaper,  working as a sales assistant in a Goodwill store.  It was almost like all that hard work meant nothing.

I stuck it out for over a year, living back with my parents, searching desperately for a better job as my creditors besieged me and my students loan gathered more and more interest. I may have been able to get a decent job had I moved to a big city like New York. The problem, however, was that I wouldn’t be able to afford to live in a place like that with only a ‘decent’ job.

I decided on a drastic plan. I am a dual citizen so, with the extent of public transport and a slew of family contacts, I figured that I would have better luck finding a job in the U.K. After all, I wouldn’t actually  have to live in a big city to be employed in one; I could just take a bus, a train, or the subway.

So I scrimped and saved, sold my car, prepared my animals (yes they came with me), and took a ship to Britain.

Five months later and I’m still unemployed, picking up a little freelance work, scraping to get by, volunteering my services, and diligently searching for a job. I am living in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is a big city, and there are many more jobs available. Unfortunately, there are many more people as well and the economy was hit just as hard as in the States. For every job I apply to there are 200 other applicants.

This really could get me down and, don’t get me wrong, there are times when it does. I have found, however, that there has been an unexpected benefit to unemployment; I have time.

Now, I don’t mean that I sleep in, do what I want, laze the day away; far from it. I spend a portion of every day searching for and applying to jobs and sending off CVs and follow-ups.

The rest of my day I devote to my writing. While I worked I was lucky to manage four or five hours a week. Now, there are times when I can write for that many hours in just one day. In a good week I can do five or six thousands words.

I have, in fact, just finished the first draft of my second novel!!! In much less time that it took to write my first.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be great to have financial security, to have the money for a vacation, or even a few little extras once in awhile. For this reason, I will continue to search for and hope for a job, but for now I found a silver lining.

And, who knows, perhaps one of my novels will be published and I can finally have a career doing what I love.

If anyone who reads this has had the same sort of experience — whether it’s the chance to write, finding joy in volunteering, or growing closer to your family or your community — I would love to hear about it.

 

Rose Connelly

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