Of Road Trips and Adulthood

From the passenger's side, I feed my handsome driver PB&J in bite-sized pieces as we sail along at 70 miles-per-hour from Atlanta to Baltimore. For my own part, I am a nervous and inexperienced highway driver. I am slightly more useful as a navigator and even more so as a DJ. We are on our way to the wedding of friends, and by the time you read this, we'll be on our way back from the whirlwind weekend. The excitement of these impending nuptials finally dawns on me when we get on the road, so I spend the first bit of the drive giving my companion a rundown of the schedule of festivities and the many people he will meet. He is a captive audience.

I run through the list of college classmates and friends from Boston and then brush off the rest with a wave of my hand. "Those are all the people our age. I can't tell you much about the grown-ups."

I am caught off-guard by the absurdity of my statement and add the caveat that perhaps we technically qualify as grown-ups too.

In one of Joy the Baker's recent posts, she lists off some of the commonly perceived barometers of adulthood: getting married, having kids, doing your own taxes. Of course, as she explains, none of these are particularly useful or accurate benchmarks of adulthood. They are significant milestones, certainly, if they happen to occur in one's life, but they don't have much to do with the definition of "grown-up."

I'm not sure there's a definition, really, or a destination we're trying to reach. As we count off the last few exits before our stop, I figure this whole marriage thing and the being-grown-up thing has a lot more to do with the journey than with the arrival. This may seem obvious, but it's not necessarily what I had expected. I used to imagine adulthood as a very serious state of being, in which you feel like you have some level of control over your life and then work really hard to maintain it.

Thankfully, this stage of life that I looked forward to for so long is a lot more fun, if also much more chaotic and unpredictable, than I ever let myself imagine. It is a series of small rituals and choreographies, punctuated occasionally by surprises, for better or worse. Some things are hard, but also funny. Some things are just hard, and the rest is just funny.

It helps to have a kind companion to cry and to laugh with as we sail along. I'm more grateful each day to be on this road together.