And the real story begins. I’ve been tripping over the edge of the sidewalk’s end for five years – married and moved out, finishing and finished with school, job hunting and finding… My lovely husband has to remind me regularly that I don’t need my parents’ permission to buy, say, a new rug, and my lovely parents still try to force me to exercise whenever I’m visiting. Part of me is excited to be living my own life on my own terms. The other part is begging my parents to step in and tell me how to live. (Note to Mom and Dad – ignore that last sentence. I don’t really mean it)

What do most people do when they’re in this “in between” place? When they aren’t children, but also don’t have children of their own? 

Here’s what I do: fake it.

  • “Hi, former-co-worker-at-the-high-school-where-I-spent-a-year-fearing-for-my-sanity-much-less-my-life, no, I’m not still teaching. Yes, I am absolutely thrilled with my new job. Of course, I just love the traveling salesman gig. Who wouldn’t?”
  • “Mom, I promise that I will exercise tomorrow. No, I haven’t had a chance to clean up the guest bedroom yet. I know, I know, it’s been nearly two years, I should have all of my boxes unpacked by this point.”
  • “Oh, my goodness! High-school-friend-I-am-reconnecting-with-for-the-first-time-in-eight-years! It’s so fantastic to see you again. Yep, I still write. Indeed, I still do love math. No, no kids. Who wants kids when they could take care of the virtual zoo my husband and I have started in our 1200 square foot home?”
  • “What’s up, neighbor-across-the-street-who’s-name-I-can-never-remember? Sure, I’ll bring in your mail for you while you’re on vacation this summer! No, we never go on vacation, no cash flow. I know! Everything is so expensive these days…”
  • “Holla, younger-sister-who-is-adorably-more-befuddled-by-life-than-I-am, I would love to offer you sage advice based on my years of experience in the real world. Please tell me your 4.75 college GPA hasn’t dropped a hundredth of a point! Oh no!” (Note: I didn’t know it was possible to get above a 4.0 GPA in college, either. Leave it to my sister to find that out…)
  • “Boss! Thanks for calling today, I appreciate that you took the time. I know, living in different states makes communicating difficult. It is weird not working out of a real office. Of course I’m adjusting to the traveling. No, I really don’t mind cold calling. It’s just ordering pizza that makes me cry…”
  • “Darling-sweet-and-wonderful-nieces-that-I-don’t-get-to-see-often-enough, never grow up. Never.”

It’s the talking to people who don’t quite get it that makes things so difficult. Are they really all that grown up, or are they really like me, faking it hard, and I’m just buying into it because I’m so desperate for someone to  have a clue what they’re doing?