When You Want To Be An Adult But Also Don't At All

by Brianna Wiest

Somewhere far between the teenage dream wasteland of your early 20s and the soul-crippling crisis of your mid-20s exists a land of possibility, irresponsibility, joy, panic and seasonally scented candles. It is at this precious time of life that your personality will be bridged over reality with one leg on "responsible adulthood" and the other on "eating out every night and shopping online for 30 percent of the workday".

This is a time that not everybody grows out of. You're fortunate to get to experience it and you're even more fortunate to come out alive. This is a time of many aspirations and little funding to pursue them. This is when you're still deeply within the realm of believing that "all things are possible" and also believing that you won't have to work too hard to accomplish them, or find a West Elm throw rug for less than $100.

To be a mid-line adult/grown child is a rare diagnosis, because on the surface, you distinctly look like one or the other (usually at varying times throughout the day). At work and on Twitter, you're professional AF, and at home/with anybody you actually know, you're only wearing your ex-girlfriend's flannel and eating Reese's Peanut Butter cups by the handful (if this is getting too specific it's because I'm describing myself).

To be fair, I've come far since my days in The In-Between, but in some ways, I'm still a Target-loving woman-child (I've had to come to peace with it, this part of my personality is not changing). From my vast experience as an ambitious and mildly shallow twentysomething, I present to you all the things that happen when you really want to be an adult, but haven't quite made it past the external trappings of what that means.

Your Deepest Internal Battle Is Between Selling Everything You Own To Travel And Saving To Purchase Property In Which You Will DIY All Of The Decor

And you frequently shift back and forth between making plans to do either/or.

You're Either Not Interested In Dating, Or Think Everyone You're Dating Is "The One"

You're "taking time for yourself" to "heal" or you've found your third Soulmate of the year, and are choosing engagement rings, only to realize that this isn't the person you want to marry and perhaps you should chill.

You Spend A Weird Amount Of Money On Throw Pillows And Chipotle, Often In The Same Outing

Basically, your ideal Saturday morning is getting Starbucks and going shopping for things you don't need. Alt option: Chipotle and coordinating throw pillow shopping.

You Have Incredible Career Goals, And Think Of Them Wistfully As You Scroll Through The J.Crew Extra 40 Percent Off Sale Section

What's funny is you are both clear on what you want to do and very driven to do it, yet these strange and intoxicating distractions seem to take over your body for periods of time, and they most typically come in the form of mid-priced (extra reduced) sweaters.

You Judge People As A Pastime, And Then Tell Others How They "Shouldn't Judge"

You haven't quite gotten past that point of youth where you still only bond with people over what you hate... but you're far enough that you know judging is a projection of how you feel about yourself and that it's ultimately pointless and degrading to the soul, blah blah blah.

You Do This Weird Thing Where You Pay Off Your Credit Card Bill And Somehow That Translates In Your Head As "This Much More Money You Can Rack Up In Debt As Quickly As Possible"

Financial stability is something that you aspire to, but not so much that you'd cut yourself off from all of the things you don't need but really, seriously want.

Your Diet Consists Of Homemade Meals And Recipes You Got Off Of, And McDonald's

You're either cooking something amazing at home and Instagramming it so the whole world knows you're #Domestic, or going to McDonald's with your best friend because you need fries and you're not going to be that girl who restricts herself. Nuh uh. Nope. Not you.

You Buy A Lot Of Things "Just In Case" You "Entertain"

A lot of serving plates and guest towels for people who would never care about serving plates or use guest towels.

You're Always Reinventing Yourself: Spiritually, Sartorially... Uh, Yeah, Mainly Just Those Two

Your Kondo-inspired life-haul was a spiritual practice that also somehow resulted, conveniently, in your adoption of a "capsule wardrobe," which is something you now hashtag on Twitter very often.

You're Beginning To Think That The Ideal Adulthood Is Spending 20 Percent Of Your Paycheck At Target And Feeling Good About It As You Walk Out

You've come to the conclusion that it's really not about whether or not you do these silly (yet indescribably joyful things) but rather being able to do it happily (and responsibly). Finally: the perfect balance is yours.

Images: NBC; Giphy