What a glorious fall afternoon it is.
I’m sitting at my boyfriend’s dining room table, watching the cats slowly wake up from their nap and soaking up today’s last rays of sunshine while enjoying a homemade pumpkin spice chai latte
The latte and sunshine and writing time come after an afternoon at the dentist. Think of them as my reward for good behavior.
The good behavior in question was not the flossing and brushing that led to another cavity-free year. Instead, it was all the grown-up-ish steps it took to arrive at this moment: checking my insurance, calling the dentist, filling out the appropriate forms.
I love celebrating successful adulting.
My boyfriend tolerates this habit, but finds it eccentric. “I deserve a reward!” I proclaimed as we walked out of a Wells Fargo branch this month. I had finally opened a local bank account after talking about needing one for more than a year.
“Doesn’t being an adult mean you don’t deserve a treat for doing what you’re supposed to do?” he asked.
I scoffed, and then spitefully purchased celebratory mashed potatoes at the grocery store.
Although I love being in charge of my finances, wardrobe and schedule, there are many aspects of adulthood that are truly wretched. I’ve wasted entire days dreading a 15-minute phone call to sort out car registration or a rental insurance bill. I live in fear of having to change my voter registration address when I move.
As you grow-up, odious tasks like doing the laundry, cleaning out a litter box and getting an oil change become commonplace. There’s no guarantee that something surprising or fun will happen each day or week, and it’s impossible to avoid annoyances.
So I create my own sparks of joy. I spend an afternoon working at a coffee shop when I need to brainstorm a fellowship application, or I find some extravagant recipe to try when I know restaurant dining will bust my budget.
I inherited this habit from my mom, who still regularly texts to report that she’s treating herself with a latte. Growing up is hard work, and I’m glad she gifted me with the sense that celebrating little successes should be mandatory.
In a little more than three weeks, I will travel home for my first long vacation since becoming a full-time reporter. I plan to savor every single moment, remembering and commemorating (likely with a Steak ‘n Shake milkshake) every grown-up decision it took to get where I am today.
Until then, cheers to 25 cavity-free years and another day of successful adulting.