The alarm buzzes at 8:32AM sharp. “Sh*t,” I manage to mumble as my eyes open, and refocus to the light shining through my bedroom window. My right leg, notably missing a sock, swings out from under the comforter and gently grazes the carpeted floor.
Or, what should be the floor.
Instead, my foot swiftly kicks the wooden banister of my trundle-bed before slamming into a red, warm, gooey pile of leftover jello shots from the night before.
Despite my verbal antics, I’m careful not to wake my slumbering roommate as I separate the crooked blinds and peek down to the Pittsburgh road five stories below. A light dusting of snow covers the pot-holed, fraternity-lined street.
My second alarm rings reminding me of class in 20 minutes…
“Yeah, this isn’t going to happen,” I think as I face-plant back into bed.
The alarm buzzes at 3:45AM as I jolt awake and jump off the queen-sized mattress. I stumble my way to bathroom and quickly flick on the light. “Sh*t,” I manage to mumble as I realize my eye de-puffing cream has done nothing to improve the bags under my eyes. I quickly rinse off in the shower and throw on my new suit before attempting to fix the blue and green circles under my bloodshot ocular. What’s a girl to do without foundation and powder?
My phone buzzes next to me indicating that a cab is on its way. “Crap,” I think, only six more hours until our presentation to the client, which includes a one and a half hour flight and a 2-hour drive through the back roads of South Carolina. I check my phone as I grab my suitcase and laptop bag and stumble down the poorly lit steps.
An email from M. around midnight (why is he emailing at that hour, let alone awake??) awaits my response. Did I print ten copies of the presentation?
“Hmm…,” I ponder as I hail down the cab, which already drove yards past my house.
My Pitt shirt reeks of stale beer and barbecue sauce (?) when I stumble into the kitchen later that afternoon. A note from my roommate indicates that she would like the kitchen cleaned… and soon. I push the post-it off to the side as I pour myself a glass of orange juice. Don Perignon for a college student; that stuff is like liquid gold, given how expensive it is for a girl who can’t even afford her rent.
I flip through the pages of my accounting and marketing books, while Sex and the City plays in the background. Numbers mix with advertisements, which mix with accounting tables and marketing budgets. It’s like Mad Men meets Turbo Tax. It takes all of 15 minutes before I realize that I just don’t care. We spend the majority of our college careers trying to plan for our future, but who’s to say that future is actually going to happen?
Wheels touch down in Washington D.C. a quarter after 7pm. I think about the week before. Just four short days ago, I remember running around the client site printing the ten copies of the client presentation in frantic haste. My job is not perfect, nor a true, deep passion of mine, but I care for it and keeping it safe.
I text my family members to let them know I successfully survived another flight. And, as the taxi pull into the driveway of the house with my loving friends and dog inside, I’m consumed with the feelings of caring about them too.
I think the moment that I first discovered that I was a ‘grown-up’ was the moment I realized that I truly, deeply care for the things in my life – my job, my people, my health, my everything. It feels horrible to write this right now because it’s not like I didn’t care before, but I feel like I was so lost in the bubble of what the heck am I doing with my life? that it was hard to concentrate on other things and people around me.
Now that I’m on my own and accountable for my own things (mortgage, dog, food, happiness), I feel more responsibility for choosing the things that I care about and putting effort into that care. In college, these thoughts are just a little fairy tale, but, in life, they get real.
**I’m so excited to read others grown-up stories! Please link-up using the Add Your Link button below. The link-up will stay open until Sunday at midnight!**