The transition to adulthood is not automatic

Abbey Olson/ Contributing Writer


I always wondered what growing up meant when I was young. I envisioned wearing pearl necklaces and dressing business casual. I dreamed about driving my very own car and imagined owning an apartment in a city. At this point in my life, at 19 years old, I can honestly say I have achieved adulthood … well, kind of.

While I had expected the urge to pay taxes and wear practical shoes to set in on my 18th birthday, I was sadly mistaken.

Sure, I can cook a mean mac n’ cheese in the microwave, my cleaning skills are respectable, and I can balance a budget and keep a ledger. Financially, I am basically independent as a result of working as a resident advisor and maintaining a merit scholarship from FIU.

And yet, this week, I was confronted by two situations that led me to two conclusions. First, I am not yet an adult. Second, I’m not sure I will be for a while.

It started when my car was having problems. While I drive a stick shift and pretend to know a lot about how my engine works by showing off my containers of 5W-30 full synthetic oil, the prospect of me fixing the fact that my 2001 VW Beetle’s hood was practically glued shut was highly unlikely.

Like a regular teenager, I waited weeks for this problem to correct itself. I asked practically every person I knew to try to pop the hood of my car, re-enacting something of a King Arthur Sword-in-the-Stone scenario. I was less successful than Merlin and the people of England, failing to find anyone who could solve this problem.

I tried a different tactic: praying to every religious figure I could think of. While my past transgressions may have been absolved, the car was still not working properly. Alas, I was left with my third option: taking my car to a shop.

I arrived at the car shop, “Hometown Lube,” which was just across the street from the University. I had called ahead of time to ensure they could help me with my issue, which they kindly agreed to and brought along one of my best friends, Monica.

For over an hour, three mechanics repaired my car issues, refilled my oil and fluid and were just generally wonderful. I was lucky. They performed all of this work for the low cost of three sodas from across the street; I had found my King Arthurs and my prayers had been answered.

The next incident happened after my glasses broke at the bridge following a brutal and almost deadly argument with my pillow and my head. I knew I had to schedule an eye examination and purchase a pair of glasses. Immediately, I called my mother, who confirmed that we did, in fact, have insurance for “problems like this.”

As I am a very proactive person, I waited three weeks to make an appointment. At 10 a.m., I drove to the appointment, freshly printed insurance cards in tow, and was thrust into a world of medical decisions and questions. Medical forms are kind of like tests and surveys wrapped up into one.

“Does your family have a history of glaucoma?” the document asked me, mockingly.

“I sure hope not,” I thought as I nervously checked no.

Ultimately, I survived the air puff test and my prescription was finalized. I felt on top of the world and casually browsed the glasses selection, choosing a simple square frame. While it took 30 minutes to confirm my insurance plan, I was finally able to buy my very own pair of glasses with my very own money, as well as the portion covered by my insurance.

It was one small step toward adulthood, nevertheless, I was proud.

Overall, adulthood is more than its artificial representations like clothing, a car and a house. Like Uncle Ben says in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The transition to adulthood may be a long road ahead of me, but I’m ready for the challenge. Today, it was glasses and a car repair. Tomorrow, the world.




The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Image retrieved from Flickr.

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