When I got married I wasn’t quite an adult yet. Yes, I was 20, which is legally an adult, but c’mon, I’d just graduated from college—for which my parents footed the bill and gave me spending money—where I lived on campus, didn’t need a car, and did nothing but schoolwork and weightlifting. I had exactly zero life experience. So I went from Mom and Dad’s to married without any real single time in between. I’m getting that single time now, and I have to say that 31 is a good age to have it.
Every so often I have these flashes of, “Whoa, I’m an adult. I can do whatever I want.” And while you may think, “Duh, you’ve been adult for years now, weren’t the bills and 72 hour kit and conference calls and knee pain a clue?” all my adult time has been spent as part of a legally-yoked team. And we intended to make the partnership work, so we made decisions together. (Only mostly, obviously.)
While I don’t intend to get another dog—at 6.5lbs, Sophelia is plenty of pet for me—I could totally do that if I wanted. On a whim, I could go to the animal shelter and bring home a new friend. I don’t need to get a spouse’s buy-in or collaborate or agree on a breed or any of that stuff that is necessary in a functional relationship.
The other day I had a tiny moment where I thought, “I want a cat.” And I could get one if that’s what I fancied. I could up and do that without warning, because there isn’t anyone I need to warn. I live alone, Dear Reader. Alone!
It's not uncommon for people to have these I'm-an-adult moments. But they usually happen when additional responsibilities pop up. Having a baby. Buying a house. Putting a parent in hospice. For me, however, this I'm-an-adult moment is happening as a result of newfound "freedom."
My marriage wasn’t oppressive. Try and oppress me, I dare you. But it was being part of a pair instead of going it alone. I was responsible to someone. Making random choices solo—like coming home with a sudden cat—wasn’t the right thing to do because I was on a team.
Tonight I was having a tough time motivating myself to fold the giant pile of laundry sitting on my bed. About an hour ago it was starting to seem reasonable to just sort of sleep around it. And I could do that, you know. Soph and I could burrow into my clean laundry, making it our bed, instead of folding the towels and yoga shorts and leggings, because I’m a grown up who lives by her onesie, and sometimes being a grown up has to have a few benefits. When I was whining to my sister that I didn’t want to fold my laundry, she said, “Just live out of the dryer. I would do that if I could.” And it occurred to me that I could do that. If that’s what I wanted, I could do it.
I can keep my fridge nearly empty almost all the time.
I can throw away plastic Ziploc containers instead of washing them out.
I can leave the ladder out for a few days instead of putting it right away when I'm done changing the damn beeping smoke alarm battery at 4AM.
I can keep a 9mm in the nightstand.
I could take a few days off and jet to Belize.
I could use only paper plates and plastic silverware.
I could leave on all the lights in the house day and night.
I could paint a wall turquoise and not care if anyone else liked it.
I could fill an entire room with exercise balls and roll around on them before bed.
I’m a single adult. And sometimes that doesn’t suck.