Friday, November 18, 2011

Letting My Inner Adult Out

For those of you just joining us, you ought to know 3 things about Jane In Her Infinite Wisdom:

1) I have never been married.
2) I have no least, I don't think. I'm fairly certain I would know.
3) For the last 10 months, I have, in earnest, been attempting to pay off my mind-bogglingly large debt (nearly $20,000 between student loans and credit cards).

The first two facts largely contribute to the sensation that, most of the time, I don't feel much older than 18...occasionally 12...sometimes 5. In my opinion, I have the best of both worlds. My time, outside of a 9-5 (OK, 7-3) job, is decidedly my own and I squander it however I see fit. It also means that, because I'm the grown up, I can have banana splits or, more importantly, wine for supper and there is no one who can tell me "NO!".

The third fact, well, that one sucks. It's the one fact that continually pulls me out of youthful folly and into sedate adulthood in a snap. It's meant that, for the last 10 months, I have had to budget, plan, save, and think about where every single cent gets spent. Bummer. that I think about it, the first two facts contribute to the bummer that is #3. Why? Well, if I had a husband, there'd be someone else to help shoulder the burden of that debt (Ha!). If I had kids (*shudder* sorry, Parents, ew. Just ew. Because ew) I could blame the debt on them. (Ha! Ha!)

As it is, I know I am 100% responsible for the accumulation of said debt and the responsibility of paying it off is all mine. For the record? I've had a kickass time incurring that debt.

Oh! Oh yes. There is one more thing you ought to know about me in relation to this story.

I am thoroughly terrified of auto maintenance and repair. Need proof? Here's just one post (out of many) I wrote about how I DIDN'T curl up into a fetal position and the middle of the Firestone sales floor.

So...this story really begins last weekend...Sunday. I knew I was WAY overdue for an oil change. I knew this because Honda (I drive one of those) is smart and put a little warning light into my dashboard that starts to blink "maintenance required" for a few seconds at 3,000 miles when I start the car. It begins to blink longer at about 5,000 miles. At 7,500 miles - if it's not been reset - the light turns on and won't go off. Sunday morning, as I headed up to Acr0nym's for the continuation of the Great De-cluttering of 2011, that stupid maintenance required light was a steady orange.

Well. Hells Bells.

So...I did what any girl afraid of auto maintenance and repair would do...I pleaded with Acr0nym to check my oil. When he balked, I asked his roommate, Jive Turkey, to do it for me. Acr0nym, being the decent fellow he is, eventually would check my oil.

However, when he lifted up the hood, he was, at first, amazed, and then appalled that my car battery was covered in an extraordinary amount of corrosion. In fact, he stated, "I can't believe this battery is still starting your car. Also? Add oil. And then? Would you please go get your oil changed?"


So I, wrenched from the throes of childhood and into Grown Up-dom kicking and screaming, begrudgingly called my favorite Firestone to make an appointment for an oil change and battery maintenance first thing Monday morning. And then? Then I took a vacation day Thursday (yesterday) to take care of "Grown Up Stuff" including auto maintenance and repair.

I loathe burning a vacation day in order to be an Adult.

So...this is how my day started yesterday (at just past 0 dark:30):

Still dark enough to capture the bright-red neon.
See that white speck in the sky? That's the moon who had yet to retire.
It was WAY too early to be that grown up.

But I got it done.

Then? Then I got my grocery shopping done for the Fourth Annual Grotto Thanksgiving...on a weekday - a full week before the holiday. I've had too many experiences fighting the holiday grocery shopping crowd the weekend before and the weekdays of the same week as the holiday. I figured, since I was being a Grown Up, I might as well spend my day off wisely.

And then? Then I came home and paid off the balance of a long outstanding credit card.

This morning, after reviewing my budget and factoring in the savings on the auto maintenance I'd managed due to the less than anticipated cost + a $15 off coupon, I paid off the balance of the last of my 15-year-old student loans. Instead of spending that extra money on fun stuff.

THAT was the moment it hit me.

I've been out of college for 15 years. 15 years I don't exactly remember flying past me.

Sure, I remember significant good times and particular bad times but, in general, I can't believe 15 years have passed so frighteningly quickly. When I started paying on those loans, I thought it was an excruciatingly long time until they were paid off.

And yet. Yet, here I am, Paid. In. Full. I don't know where the time went.

I can only think, tonight, the time went to learning how to - mostly - become an Adult and what strikes me is that adulthood isn't much different than childhood. The only differences between Jane at 13 and Jane at 40 is that my allowance, at times, goes for things I'd rather not spend money on and that time flies at a far quicker pace.

Additionally, I realize, as I grow older, it is not our inner child who needs let out to have free rein but our inner adult that needs let out occasionally to take care of business.



alienbody said...

Doood. Last month I showed a 50+ year old friend of mine how to check the air pressure in their tire. AND, used my compressor to fill said tire. I do have a Hubbypants to handle the buying of tires, etc. But I've changed a tire, a few times, on my own. I handle oil changes & maintenance AND I get the TIRES that when you change the oil, just ask them, it's important.

And there is all kinds of "ewwww" with children. I have 2 of the beasties and I haven't recovered yet (they are almost 16 and 13).

I think, pretty much know, that I really would have liked all ages of you...'cause the 40 year old you is pretty awesome. I'm staring down 43 and it's giving me really stern eyebrows...I'm kind of skeered. ;-)

Masked Mom said...

I'm in awe of your grown-up-itude. ;)

Seriously, I have been married for 24 years and I have four children (all but one of whom are old enough to VOTE and I'd like to know when the hell THAT happened) and I still frequently feel like I'm 15 or so.

My grandmother when she was in her 70s said she still didn't think of herself as a full-fledged adult unless she looked in the mirror. It's always kind of comforting to find out I'm not the only one who feels a little like an imposter.