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Monday, April 22, 2024

Do you ever reach a point in life you when you just know things have changed? Like one day, all of a sudden, you realize you're an adult? It's not like you start misplacing your keys or using phrases like "cool beans." It's this creepy onset of maturity that just smacks you in the soul. Age has overcome me. But I should be ready by now. I've been given almost 21 years to prepare.

This year at Christmas, I woke up with no more than an ounce of excitement. I was looking forward to spending time with my family and eating food prepared by my mother, but I was more enthralled watching others open the gifts I gave than opening presents for myself. Selflessness? Who am I, Mother Teresa? Angelina Jolie? Easy comparison.

The other day I was at the pool listening to a parent tell a child he couldn't swim. I immediately thought to myself, I am going be a better parent than that. I wanted to go over to the man and tell him that discouraging a child is probably the worst thing a parent could possibly do. But what authority do I have? "Listen sir, I've recently realized that Christmas no longer excites me. Therefore, I have deep insight into the life of an adult. Don't tell your kid he can't swim. He's trying. Be positive. No, you listen to me, you middle-aged man. I'm experienced."

Allow me to cite the best indication that I'm getting old. One of my roommates just got engaged. Holy crap. I mean, cool beans. When we graduate college in five months, she is going to commit to loving one person for the rest of her life. But she can do it. They're both really good people. Nonetheless, that's a really serious commitment. That's not like telling your mom that you'll clean your room once a week, and it's not like promising your chemistry partner that you'll do the homework every other day. It's giving your entire life to someone else. To me, it's like laying down in front of a Mack Truck in a sequined white dress.

People keep asking what I'm going to do when I graduate. "So Carly, what are you going to do with your life?" What does that even mean?

Well first of all, I hope that whatever I "do with my life" when I graduate will not be my reason for living. I want to be a mom. I want to be loving wife. I feel like that will give me more of a reason to live than any career ever could. Call me old-fashioned but I don't want my job to be my world, especially if I choose to work in advertising.

I don't imagine God created this little 5-foot-2-inch girl with brown hair and tiny hands and said, "Now that I've spent all this time making her, I sure hope she can trick my other creations into buying things they don't need, especially with the use of sexual innuendos and celebrity spokespersons."

Is this what growing up is all about? It's not the added inches to your height, and it's not the anticipation of your next trip to Disney, knowing you're finally tall enough to ride Space Mountain. It's realizing your priorities have changed. It's engagements and parenthood. It's giving unconditionally. And it's your job and your future.

So now that I've officially realized I'm an adult, I just have to figure out what that means for my collection of Britney Spears CDs and polka-dot underwear.

Age is scary, but I like it. It's coming on so fast just thinking about it is making me thirsty. I'll have to pause my epiphany because I've got a Wild Cherry Capri Sun waiting for me in the fridge. It should be cold by now. I've given it plenty of time to prepare.

Carly Hallam is an advertising senior. Her column appears on Fridays.

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