The Christmas I (mostly / kind of / maybe) became a real adult.

While driving back to Lansing last night, I got to thinking about Christmas and adulthood. Last December did a lot for my sense of being an adult: I graduated from BYU and got my first non-student job. I had my first major car accident and (not coincidentally) bought a car for the first time.


This December, I finished my first semester of graduate school, which has proven to be an ambiguously adult experience. I left my role as a professional (which I automatically, if incorrectly, associate with adulthood) to go back to being a student (which I automatically, if incorrectly, associate with my youth). And yet, I’m in many ways a professional student (especially since I’m lucky enough to get a paycheck during my studies), so the fire of ambiguity continues to flicker.

To add some fuel to that fire, I thought I’d mention some of the most adult (and some of the least adult) things that characterized my Christmas this year:

My favorite gift was a laptop desk…

Huzzah! Thanks to the CLS Adjustable Vented Laptop Table (which, in all seriousness, I heartily recommend), I can now write and research comfortably while sitting on the floor! While lying in bed! I can even put it on top of my current desk and finally see what all the hype about standing desks is about!

…and my second favorite gift was a computer game

Of course, I’ve spent a lot of time using my CLS Adjustable Vented Laptop Table (whenever I type out the full name, please read it in the voice of Ralphie Parker) playing Starbound. Since I’m interested in researching games and education, I might be able to cast this as another professional resource, but that would be pushing it. I got a lot more done this Christmas break than any other such break over the past 20 years, but playing games almost always makes me feel like a kid again (with all its positive *and* negative connotations).

I exercised while watching The West Wing…

In the weeks leading up to finals, my seven-eighths-hearted attempts at getting in shape this semester went out the window, but when I went to my parents’ for Christmas, I was an adult, and I ran on the treadmill (nearly) every day! Not only did I run on the treadmill, but I ran on the treadmill while watching The West Wing, which is surely the uncontested winner of the “Most Sophisticated and Adult TV Show of all time” award.

…to make up for eating a lot of cookies

Unfortunately, my adult(ish) exercising habits were undermined by a vicious cookie-treadmill cycle. I would eat a cookie, which led to me feeling like I needed to run on the treadmill. So, I would run on the treadmill, which led to me feeling like I was justified in eating more cookies. Like games, I suppose that cookies aren’t a totally juvenile thing, and (again like games) I abstained from cookies more than I would have ten years ago, but I still struggle to feel like an adult when I down that many cookies (not to mention the two different flavors of black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream that are a must when I visit my parents).

I took a trip to Chicago…

Surely, planning a trip to go see some old college friends (old as in we’ve all graduated, we’re still all under 30) in a town where you don’t have any immediate family is the epitome of adulthood. Together, we ate some deep-dish pizza and walked around downtown Chicago. So adult. Even after bidding our old college buddies farewell (seriously, I feel so adult when I use that phrase), we went to see the neighborhood where Kathryn’s mom grew up and visited a cemetery with some family graves.

…where I spent a lot of time in a LEGO store.

To be fair, I did spend a lot of time comparing the look of the Horizon Express set to a first-generation TGV but I suspect that doesn’t make me look more adult so much as it makes me look like a French kid obsessed with trains. Besides, there’s no getting around my ogling of the Star Wars section.

Now that I’ve written all of this down, my “less adult” pursuits don’t feel so juvenile anymore, but things still feel ambiguous. I also still have that nagging feeling at the back of my mind that is telling me to stop playing games/eating cookies/looking at LEGO trains and be a “real grown up.” We’ll have to see if that changes this semester or this year.

2 thoughts on “The Christmas I (mostly / kind of / maybe) became a real adult.

  1. Nice post. I love The West Wing. Although I don’t politically agree with a lot of what happens during it, it makes for some awesome drama. I mean what is better than when Bartlett walks in during the first episode? Or when he tells that journalist in another episode that in his house we stand when he enters the room. Oh after ranting about that… I’ll have to check out your magic laptop stand.

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