For some people, adulthood starts when they graduate college, get their first real job and start paying real bills.
For me, it took a little longer.
I figured I would feel like an adult once I started my first big girl job, but since I lived at home and was still being supported by my parents I still felt like a kid.
Then I made my first big purchase after graduation — a car — but that still didn’t make me feel responsible or any more grown up.
My mom cooked, my grandmother cleaned and I was pretty much living the rent-free dream.
After four years of dating, my now husband finally got the hint and sealed the deal, and I was certain being engaged would guarantee me a seat at the adult table during the holidays.
No such luck. I was still stuck at the kiddie table.
Married and on our way to play house for real, I figured renting a home and having to pay bills like cable, Internet and electric would make me grow up.
Nope. Still in denial.
When we moved to Missouri, we had to buy a washer and dryer — and that’s when it hit me.
This is what adults do. They buy appliances.
Adults don’t buy fun stuff for themselves; they buy stuff for a house.
Cue the adult avalanche.
First it was a washer and dryer, then it was a lawn mower.
When we moved to Harker Heights recently, we bought a house.
I couldn’t believe we were old enough to buy a house, but that mortgage bill that comes in every month reminds me this is real life and we are homeowners.
We’ve been homeowners for a little more than 10 months now, and the newness is starting to wear off. Our house is starting to feel like a home, further driving home the fact that we are adults.
Walking our dogs in our neighborhood is part of our routine and so is catching up with our neighbors who are out watering their plants, mowing their lawns or walking their own motley crew.
Adulthood feels surprisingly normal. I don’t feel old, yet I feel like everything in my life is falling into place.
Being a military spouse, “Home is wherever the Army sends you” and sometimes feeling at home is easier said than done.
Even when we lived in Hawaii I didn’t feel like I was “home.” We lived in the same house for three years, I was working full time and I had made a solid group of friends, but something was missing.
I hoped to find that missing link during our short stint in Missouri, but I didn’t feel like I could call Missouri home either.
Even though I’m not a thoroughbred Texan, I honestly feel like I can call Texas home.
It’s not because we made the giant leap to buy a house here; it’s because of the people.
Everywhere I go people are genuinely nice and helpful, unlike the stereotypical, fast-paced East Coasters I grew up with.
We had just moved into our house in January when plates of cookies started appearing on our door step.
I thought that stuff only happened in movies.
Our neighbors actually make eye contact when they see us and strike up a conversation.
Such a foreign concept.
It may have taken me 28 years, a washer and dryer and buying a house, but I can finally accept the fact that I’m not Peter Pan and I am, indeed, a grown-up.
Plus, adulthood has its perks. No one can tell me I can’t have ice cream for dinner.