Being an adult is way more than reaching a certain age. It is likely that when most Americans reach 18 they do not yet “feel” like an adult. Becoming an adult is about taking on a certain mindset. To me, it is giving myself responsibilities and expectations that I only I can hold myself accountable for. Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what it looks like for me to “embrace adulthood.”
You see, by the last semester of my undergraduate coursework, I was wearing yoga pants almost every day. I had stopped wearing any make-up two years prior. My hair was in a ponytail and it took me no more than 15 minutes to get ready (including a shower and picking out my outfit.) Being so consumed with schoolwork and my job made me care very little about appearing any more than just “acceptable.” I am sure the fact that I was engaged contributed to my “no need to impress” attitude.
I do not think this attitude is necessarily bad, in fact, it helped me to deal with body image issues that I struggled with for a long time. The less time in the mirror, the less time consumed with thoughts of my image. Yet, when I looked at myself, I did not feel like an adult. My academics and future endeavors made me feel like a young professional, but my wardrobe/appearance didn’t make me look like one.
Last semester, I decided that when I started graduate school in the fall, I would not allow myself to wear sweatpants to school. When I told my friend this goal, she laughed and told me I should ease into it by wearing jeans a least once a week. I told I her I would finish the current semester out strong in sweats. Thanks to the awesome opportunity to work as a graduate assistant on campus this fall, the option to wear sweatpants has been taken from me. My goal has become a requirement.
Besides trading yoga pants for slacks, there are other areas in my life in which I want to embrace adulthood. Being mature is not really the issue, I have been called mature for my age my whole life. Some say I have an “old soul.” Yet, I feel like now is the time to start becoming the woman God has created me to be. Lately I have been making changes and setting new goals to both become a true young professional and a woman after God’s heart.
The first obstacle I had to overcome was realizing that I cannot fear body changes. Over the last couple years, I have noticed that I do look different than I did in high school. While changing is natural and inevitable, sometimes I find myself comparing myself now to me in high school. Yet, I know that now I need to embrace any changes that come and see any transformations as a healthy transition into womanhood.
Over the past two weeks I have given myself a bit of a makeover. Makeover in the loosest of terms, of course. I have made a few changes in hopes to give myself a more mature appearance. (Maybe people will start to think I am 18, not 15 now. My mom helped me pick out some business casual outfits and I donated many of the outfits I have had since high school to Goodwill. I tried to pick out outfits that made MY body look good. Which is a big deal, because I usually wear hand-me-downs (love those!) that gave me a frumpy look.
I also chopped my hair off. This is something Terry has been wanting me to try, so I figured I would give it a go. I loved my long hair, but honestly I usually just threw it up in a ponytail more than half the time. My shorter hair not only makes me look older, but it always means I have to actually fix it. When people say shorter hair is easier to deal with, I have to disagree. No more throwing it up in a ponytail or bun.
I am thinking I will start wearing a little make up too. Not because I feel like I have to or that a girl needs to wear make up to be successful, but because I want to look my age. Just no eyeliner, it always ends up running down my face.
While these changes are all focus on my appearance, I think they will do a lot for helping me FEEL confident and womanly. I won’t have to worry about explaining that I am not, indeed, a high schooler, but a graduate student who is married. (Ha!)
Part II of this post will be about some life and attitude changes I plan to make. The real stuff.