But tomorrow I probably won’t.
That’s pretty typical for me. Sometimes I feel like I’ve finally reached adult status. I’m meeting deadlines and finishing work projects and paying bills and I just did my own laundry dang it! But next thing I know, I’m curled up on my couch watching Disney movies on Netflix and eating pudding and sprinkles with a princess spoon.
It’s not that I’m unhappy about that. I just expected being an adult would feel differently. I always thought that adulthood would initiate one day, like flipping a light switch or turning on my laptop. But there’s not some proverbial threshold that adolescents cross that suddenly makes them adults. There’s no magic button to press or Stargate to go through or certificate that says you’re official. It doesn’t just happen; it’s always happening.
When I was a kid, I thought adults had things all figured out. I thought they’d reached the end of childhood, like it was the first level of Life’s video game. But I realized that adults are just big kids playing dress-up in business suits and heels. They are still trying to figure stuff out. Instead of a flipping a light switch or leveling up, adulthood is more like getting halfway through a huge puzzle. The picture gets a little clearer, but you’re still just trying to figure out where all the other pieces go.
I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like an adult, or like I’ve left my childish ways behind, and I’m okay with that. It’s not that I think that adults aren’t allowed to be kids. I just refuse to believe it has to be this big transformation. I don’t believe there’s such thing as a grown up – we’re merely all growing up.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of when I packed two duffel bags into the back of my Scion and moved to Houston to start my first job. I can’t believe it’s already been a full year since I came here. In some ways it seems like I just got here yesterday, and yet, sometimes I feel like I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve learned so much in such a short time. But, most importantly, I’ve proved to myself that I could do it.
When I first told people I was moving to Houston, I was met with different versions of the same emotion: shocked. Some were excited for me, others skeptical. Most people told me that they never expected me to do “something like that.” Apparently, moving to a different city to start a new life, although a cliché scenario in my book, didn’t seem to be the type of thing that Haley Gatewood would ever do.
It was through these conversations that I discovered that many of my friends and family had grown to see only one part of me – and it was a part I didn’t like. They knew me as a quiet, timid girl who was too afraid to swim too far from shore. That Haley is very real and defined the majority of my life for a long time. But while they grew accustomed to that perception of me, I was developing the side of me that I did like: a brave, ambitious, independent person who didn’t need training wheels anymore and was willing to go wherever God sent her. That was the part of me I had grown to identify with. That was the part of me that accepted the challenge of starting a new life from scratch in a city I had never been to before.
And so, while others doubted my ability to blaze my own trail and expected me to move back home as soon as I could, I set out to prove them wrong – and prove to myself that I really was this person I had kept hidden for so long.
So, it’s been a year. My trail has been blazed. And I feel like I’m finally getting the chance to express the part of me I knew was there all along.
And it’s just the beginning.