Do you feel like you're making it up as you go along, too? Do we all feel that way secretly and some of us are just much better at hiding it than others? When did we figure out how to act like an adult and do the things adults do? I have been thinking about this a lot since I have newly adult children who are learning their way into their adult lives like I must have done when I was their age. There is so much I don't remember.
I don't remember how I figured out how to file taxes, for example. I don't even know when I did it the first time. I used H&R Block in Chicago for years before I moved to Sweden, but I don't remember what I did before that, or even IF I did before that, despite having had a job all through college. I must have filed/paid taxes, right? I don't know if it is something my parents told me about and instructed me in how to do, or if it was something I learned from friends or acquaintances...we didn't even have the Internet back then (at least not like we do now) so it wasn't as if I could Google it.
I probably called my mom to ask. I called my mom a LOT when I was a young adult. I called her to ask stupid things like how to cook rice because she always knew the answers and she always took the time to give them to me, no matter how asinine or simple my question might be. She was my Google, pre-Google. She was my Lifeline and my Encyclopedia and my how-to guide on how to be an adult. I don't feel that I am those things for my children. They don't need me the same way I needed my mom, my parents, because they can just look it up themselves. They have an app for that.
I don't remember learning how to cook. I wasn't a child especially interested in cooking and I didn't stand beside my grandmother or my mom with an apron on, spooning out measurements or reading recipes. I called my mom a LOT about cooking questions when I was living on my own. My mom gave me a recipe book when I graduated from college and I had a couple of cookbooks and nowadays I have no fear of throwing things together, making recipes up out of my own head, because I have at least a basic understanding of how things work, how things go together, how long things take, etc., but I don't remember learning it. It must have been so gradual and piecemeal that it snuck up on me somehow, like most adulting.
My mom taught me to clean. She taught me pretty well, actually, despite probably not believing it herself when I was the age my kids are now, based on the state of my room (just how I feel about my kids' rooms!). I was one of the few who really knew how to clean when I worked in the MSU dormitories one summer cleaning. By the end of that summer, I could clean anything and the only thing that I have trouble cleaning as an adult is the horrible well under the bathtub that fills up with hair and soap and god knows what. I am gagging just thinking about it, writing this.
But lots of things still elude me. I am pretty clueless when it comes to banking things, like mortgages and funds and taxes in general. Thankfully, I have a husband who adults that stuff better than I do and keeps us solvent. Even though I'm the one who pays most of the bills, I think that's the part that is me secretly adulting, because it's the easy part. He's the one who deals with realtors and cars and computer crises (mostly).
I had a stressed-out day at work today and barked at my daughter (I apologized) and vented at my colleagues (who were understanding and sympathetic) and steamed about things in general and on the way home, Karin talked me down by asking me questions. She asked me all kinds of questions about what I thought about this and that, and what I did then and what I liked and didn't like and how I dealt with it and by the time we were home and sitting on the sofa, I felt much better. And I think she's got the adulting thing down. She's better at it than I am, already. In fact, I think I lucked out right where I am, in the middle between a mom who could answer anything and a daughter who knows how to apply it all instinctively. I don't know what she's playing at, or if she even realizes it's a game, but either way, I suspect she's winning it.