When I was in high school and finally got my driver’s license, I loved running errands. I mean, really loved it. I would have to drive to the bank, say, to make a deposit, and I would think, “This is really great! Look at me, going to the bank like a real adult!” I was big on feeling Like A Grown-Up and Doing Grown-Up Things, even though my awareness of it as such probably made it the teenager’s version of clomping around in Mommy’s high heels.
Of course, the thing about being an adult is that there isn’t any official moment where you become an adult. There is no Board of Certification which will mail you a Grown-Up Card for you to keep in your wallet, next to the photos of your relatives and the spare book of stamps. You just start doing things that adults do, over and over, until one day you’re in your thirties and realize, “So this is what it feels like.”
Particularly since my arrival in Vienna, I’ve felt like I got thrown in to the deep end of the responsibility pool (no running, no diving, please shower before entrance). In the past few weeks, I’ve had to deal with:
- Finding my way around a new city
- Setting up a bank account
- Getting a cell phone
- Applying for a residency permit
- Applying for Austrian health insurance
All while doing the ordinary business of keeping myself fed and clothed and going to classes. It was a bit overwhelming at first, feeling like there were all of these things that I needed to do right now. But, when the going gets tough, the (not so) tough make lists.
Add in my new website love, Unf*** Your Habitat, which encourages participants to just do a little bit consistently (in, say, a 20-minute session and a 10 minute break), and hey presto! Direction + motivation = getting things done. Over the past week, I’ve been studying my notes every night (with help from the amazing flashcards I’ve made using Anki), doing my laundry before it rivals Mount Everest, washing my dishes and cooking for myself so I don’t spend king’s ransom on takeout. It feels a bit weird not to be in panic mode, but I’m trying to enjoy the feeling of knowing there is nothing else that needs to get done*.
I can watch the latest episode of Once Upon A Time, or play Werewolf with my hallmates, or stay up until almost midnight dancing the debke with some exchange students from Palestine and Jordan. I could get used to this.
*FUN FACT: I got to German class today and realized that I had completely forgotten about a short write-up we had to turn in. It is now on today’s list. Adulthood is a process.