I think I’ve finally got this “adulting” nonsense down to a science. It’s all coming together. I get it now.

That might sound funny coming from a 27-year-old living at his parents’ house1 who doesn’t own a car2 and scours the kitchen drawers for unexpired food coupons3 before going out for dinner. But I mean it!

Being an adult means spending an inordinate amount of time playing with your dog. It means playing games4 and watching TV with your friends all weekend. It means sleeping as late as you want and hiking and eating tacos and drinking beer.

“Uh, Jeremy, you just described every summer vacation of my life, pre-adulthood!”

That’s the thing, though. I didn’t. Let me translate:

Being an adult means spending an inordinate amount of time playing with your dog, because doing so is the best stress relief you’ve ever found. It means playing board games and watching CNN with your friends all weekend because you’ve come to like discussing politics with them. It means sleeping no later than 7, because that’s when you get to catch the best fading rays of sunrise. It means hiking constantly because the world is a beautiful place to explore; it means eating tacos because happy hour at a new restaurant downtown is a fun adventure with your friends; it means drinking because it is refreshing and you’re curious about the ingredients – not to get shit-faced.

Being an adult is about doing whatever you want to do because you can. You’ve earned it. Not because you’re a child with no responsibilities, but because you’ve figured out how to work and play in harmony, while balancing those other responsibilities.

I’ve come a long way since the infamous Tater Tot Proclamation of 20095. I’ve learned that growing up means taking that lump of clay you were as a child, throwing it on the pottery wheel, and shaping it into something real with your own two hands at a breakneck pace.

Growing up means acknowledging the traits you share with your parents, and enjoying them rather than avoiding them6. It means taking cues from that dog you love playing with, and trying to greet all your friends, both old and new, with a genuinely excited interest.

Being an adult is not about the time that passes or the age that increases, but rather the realization and application of doing whatever makes you happy. Of making something beautiful of yourself that will last, until you’re old, dry and cracked.

It’s about forming that clay into something that can hold flowers or serve as a canvas or be given to someone you love. It’s about the mental and spiritual growth that comes with being given responsibility and totally fucking it up7. It’s about making money, falling in love and forming beliefs, then watching all of those seemingly permanent fixtures blow up, forcing you to start over from scratch.

Growing up and becoming an adult is more about being than saying. It’s about making your own way. It’s about taking risks and squashing fears and settling into a really good groove. It’s about being happy with yourself, your abilities and your world.

I’m only an “adult” because I’ve become one. It’s not because I’m 27. It’s not because I’m a taller, slightly rounder version8 of that kid who used to waste his summers away in front of FIFA and Halo.

It’s because I’ve dedicated myself to writing and coaching and traveling and volunteering. To strengthening old relationships and discovering new ones. To projects like garden-building9 and campervan-designing and recipe-creating. To only caring about what matters to me and to what makes the world better for the rest of ’em.

I’m an adult because I’ve molded that lump of clay into a product I’m happy with, and now I get to use what I’ve built to the best of my abilities.

And I get to keep adding footnotes to my story every single day.

  1. In my defense, they offered…and no complaints here about having affordable rent in the Bay Area!
  2. Working on it, Judge Judy…geez. For now, my (mom’s) bike will suffice.
  3. But for real? Whole Foods’ 2-for-1 slice of pizza coupon is an incredible deal.
  4. Whoever invented Settlers of Catan and Dominion are both the best and worst people of all time.
  5. A moment in history when I declared10 (though maybe never in a published work) that “ideally, I’d be paid to sit in my boxers on my couch, eating tater tots forever and ever.” I do love tater tots.
  6. You would think I’d have realized the similarities I share with my parents when, at snowy Washington State, my go-to answer to the constant “Why did you come to Pullman from California?” inquiry was a deeply sarcastic “For the weather!” complete with a shameless belly laugh.
  7. Oh, damn. Did he really write the F-word up in here?! Just another shred of proof that I’m an adult: I can totally write that online and get away with it.
  8. Weirdly enough, I’m only about an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than I was when I received my driver’s license more than 10 years ago. My current license still has my 15-year-old picture on it, by the way. I’m weirdly stubborn about keeping it.
  9. Exhibit B of me slowly morphing into a strange Mama Dorn-Papa Dorn hybrid, hell-bent on planting veggies and then cooking homemade meals with the ones that aren’t attacked by those pesky deer that WON’T GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN.
  10. Boom, footnote-ception! I don’t know why it’s the infamous Tater Tot Proclamation of 2009. It could have been any of those years encompassing my first half-decade after high school graduation. It’s all just a big blur of flannel, Busch Light and bad karaoke.



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