Somewhere, in the last few years, I stumbled into “grown-up” life. How I managed to do this while still unable to get a full time job (thank you California education system for spiraling downward just as I arrived fresh and ready to teach. I can still hope!) and thus still living at home, I don’t know. It just crept in.

I wondered some in high school, when I started getting addressed as “ma’am” in stores. Not that I had a problem getting old. Truth be told, minus the requisite years of unrequited love, I was a rather poor excuse for a teenager– and I liked it that way. Who wants to be a teen in today’s world anyhow, ruled by trends and passions of the moment and countless reckless (downright stupid) decisions?

I am a 20-something now. I have passed the threshold after which I cannot place myself in my “early 20s.” I planned to be a bit further along in life by now, but so it is. I thought I’d be happily married, either teaching full-time or happily balancing stay-at-home mom duties with a successful career as a children’s book writer and illustrator. Not so much, but I AM engaged to the most wonderful man of my dreams, so perhaps it will come. Better late than never.

All the same, this “grown up” thing snuck in. My interests suddenly seem… banal and a bit pedestrian, and yet I am thoroughly exited. I have Pinterest boards chock full of home decoration and organization and housewifery and even mommy related topics. I daydream about these things. I blame wedding registries and the general coolness of the stuff the world at large posts on Pinterest for that. Does Pinterest automatically filter what I see to my interests, or is there just a refreshing lack of teenage angsty attitude and bling? Is Pinterest a grown-ups only land?

To be fair, I think I daydreamed about many of these things long before Pinterest. Mommy things like packing lunches and car rides to school were inevitable– nearly every weekday of my college life (and since) included some interaction with or plans for interaction with preschoolers and early elementary students. I was surrounded by them. What else would I daydream about?

Back in my Hotmail days, the msn homepage was a guilty pleasure. Above all, I enjoyed (believe it or not) the articles on organizing. Yep. The grown up was hiding in there all along. I’m sure the aesthetic pleasure of a neat and color coordinated space appealed to the artist in me, just as it does now, but part of me craved to be THAT together, and now, I am longing to organize. Home magazines that previously struck me as beyond boring are a temptation outside my budget, but one IĀ indulge in almost compulsively for those few (or many) moments in supermarket aisles.

Speaking of supermarkets, I have a newfound interest in food. Yes, food. Previously, my interest was limited. Was it cheap? Was it tasty by my standards? Sounded good enough. I was never into junk food really, but most of my cooking interest seemed disproportionately cookie-shaped. Now, I am interested in casseroles and crock-pot meals and whatnot. See? More trappings of grown-up land.

I think all this was already there, really. My situation by necessity did not allow me to dwell too seriously on any of these things. I don’t think I hit a magic number and ceased to care for childish things. It’s been an ongoing process. However, if there was any one trigger, it was my fiance’s apartment.

We were engaged shortly before he graduated, and, thankfully, he had a job waiting for him (unlike me) and found an apartment immediately thereafter. Though shared with a roommate for just a bit longer, we’ve been planning, buying furniture and arranging our future in this space– and with the imminent departure of said roommate, it will be that much more ours. We are choosing flatware and matching color schemes (well… I’m mostly doing that part) and budgeting (that’s more his strong point) and laying out a future.

What was previously so far off into the future for me is now very real, and is no longer a closed-door. Like the wedding chests of old, I’ve had all this folded away, just waiting. And now, as we are counting down the days, I can see it just across the river.