Maybe it was the stress of graduation, but my brand-new Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology leaves me more likely to believe that the real reason is because my genetic blueprint has me set to start showing this sign of growing up somewhere in my early twenties. I'll be 22 in a little over a month.
All week, Nicki and I have been texting non-stop. I was the first to get a "big girl job" offer for a teaching position; she was the first to actually start a "big girl job" as a long-term sub.
"i got drooled on so much today...but got tater tots. why is this job so 50/50"
"i feel like 50/50 is the theme of the real world"
"life at leitrims was just so much easier."
Meanwhile, Kim has started "big girl apartment"-hunting for her year in graduate school, looking to live in a place where the main decor on the living room walls is not a wrap-around of side panels from cases and 6-packs of beer, but maybe something a bit classier. Although she was living with us, Becca has been in a "big girl job" since February, where she will continue to be until she moves to New Mexico. And while she technically has yet to really say goodbye to her undergrad experience at Assumption, August will be here soon enough, at which point Maggie will have to be a "big girl volunteer" on her own in Houston.
We're not old by any stretch of the word. We're babies, just finally becoming real people with real purposes making real contributions to society. Little baby adults.
Adults. Grown ups. People who must now make the neccessary moves to be on their own.
This becomes clear to me sitting in Starbucks on a Thursday afternoon with Liz, who has also recently found herself with a Bachelor's degree from UMass to her name, a little unsure of what is supposed to happen next in this new chapter of our lives titled "Adulthood: The Early Years." Maybe she doesn't know where exactly she's supposed to go, but she tells me the one thing she does know for sure is that she is outgrowing the bedroom she still shares with her younger brother.
As we finish our iced teas and discussions of what post-college life holds for both of us, she leans in to ask me something in secret:
"The lady by the door, in the pink shirt, with the long black hair...is that or is that not my 7th grade Earth Science teacher?"
"Yeah...Yeah, that's definitely her. Wierd. How many years has it been since then? 6 at Latin, 4 in college...that's TEN YEARS. A full decade."
When we're back outside, she argues my calculation.
"7th grade was the 2000-2001 school year. We haven't quite hit 2010-2011 yet. It's really only been 9 years."
And with that, we continue on into adulthood and the real world, holding on tightly to that one-year difference as if it will let us stay in the blissful days of childhood just a little while longer.