Friday, March 23, 2007

Between W-2s and 1040s

Someone I knew once said, upon closing on a condo, that she could not wrap her mind around having completed such an adult rite, as she still felt she was 17. Myself 18, I nonetheless knew exactly what she was talking about. While closing on anything seemed far off for me, college, the supposed transition between adolescence and adulthood, was right around the corner.

About six years later, I can say that I still have not shook that feeling my co-worker expressed then, that of being a young person pretending to do older people things, like buying furniture, putting money in a retirement account, and filing taxes. Filing taxes in particular gets at the crux of what I fear about adulthood: building an ever-more complex life. After all, this year, I really did not have many tax forms to deal with and much income to report. Woe to the day when I have to itemize deductions and report dependents, when I have to buy a file cabinet for my papers because my simple sectioned folder no longer suffices.

I think these thoughts too about other adult things. Buying a home, for instance, seems to catapult a person into a sea of forms called notes, titles, and deeds and a series of calculations about what to insure and for how much. I feel the more I have to insure, the more I will have sunken into adulthood, which in this modern world, seems to mean owning things and having stakes in things, in some ways, being less mobile. Right now, owning a bed seems a drag on me, what will I do when I own a whole house? How will I be able to pack it all, should I choose to move? Will I be able to get away with not having to consult the terms I have signed onto on a contract, as I have with my filed away lease on my apartment, or will I have to bone up on contract terminology in order to haggle with this or that person about his or that problem? Yeah, I think too far ahead for my own good, though it seems as if some of us are inching that way already, those who are buying condos or getting engaged, for instance.

I'm in no hurry to accumulate stuff, to own, to be settled. I figure that time will come, but still, in this first year out of college, such considerations suddenly don't seem so remote. That doesn't mean they need be impending.


Anonymous said...

adulthood: building an ever-more complex life

well put! that crystallizes the experience, which i heretofore could not have put into words.
~ hm (happy 50-something)

Anonymous said...

buying a house is slavery. you will see.

Elaine said...

eeek, something not to look forward to. after venturing out into the sprawl of Fairfax county recently, namely Herndon--where the homes are practically identical, the cul de sacs appear treeless, and the closest retail space is reachable only by car, i realized i would prefer to rent than own a place in somewhere like that. indentured servitude, indeed!

mi said...

I just gave away my first couch. Buying it was so HUGE! I am just now on the other side of packing up what I've accumulated since college and I say, you are totally right to not be in a hurry to accumulate stuff!