Sometimes the best way to understand what it means to be a new-ish adult is to stop being one.
That’s what Angela, the title character from the web series 2/8 LIFE (get it?) does in episode one of the show’s second season. She moves out of the adult apartment she shared with 3-sometimes-4-sometimes friends and back into a cereal-stocked house where tickets to the Miley Cyrus show are just a Dad’s credit card swipe away. I’d argue she stopped being an adult when she bought those tickets, but the idea is, she checked out of “independent life” and back into a world where things are just handled — car insurance, cable bill, laundry — all life’s least pleasantries.
Brian, Angela’s former roommate who secretly loves her (because this is scripted television) tries to convince her to re-enter adult society . “Well, don’t you miss being an adult?” Brian asks. To which Angela convincingly responds, “I guess that’s my point – were we really adults before?”
Trust me — you’re not an adult because you live in an apartment with other people your age and not your parents. You’re not even really an adult just because you have a job that you can’t skip whenever you’re hungover slash a particularly compelling 8:30am Saved by the Bell is on. I don’t think you even really qualify as an adult if you consistently cook for yourself; Matilda did that when she was 3 years old.
To me it’s the stuff Angela is so willing to give up – life paper work and forward mobility. You’re an adult when pay your own car insurance, do your own taxes, manage your own health benefits, and pay a credit card bill in a manner that does not forever destroy your credit. And, even more importantly, when you do all those things as part of a greater plan to continue doing those things while also saving money in something I’m told is called a Roth IRA (Abby, please confirm).
Forgive the soap box, but not all 21-30 year old’s qualify. Yes, age is just a number, but “adult” isn’t just an age.
Angela’s right. She wasn’t really an adult before. Whining about trying to figure out how to be an adult doesn’t qualify (watch season one — all on hulu now!). But if real adult is the goal of 2/8 LIFE Season 2, I’m eager to see what steps Angela takes. And as a battle cry I offer her the inspiring words the St. Francis High School Gospel Choir sings under the direction of the incomparable Sister Mary Clarence: “If you wanna be somebody – if you wanna go somewhere — you gotta wake up and paaaaay attention.”
Maybe Angela will do that throughout the rest of the season, or maybe she’ll just get a bird and call that parenting…
…proving that sometimes the best way to understand what it means to be a new-ish adult is to watch someone fail at it miserably.