Nail-biting adult anxiety

by Annie Beltran

I recently decided I was an adult. Oftentimes an anxious adult who resorts to nail biting until scolded by another adult.

Have you ever sat in the emergency exit row on an airplane? I have, and it was at that moment I started to acknowledge a surge in my responsibilities. This emergency-row situation was my initial acceptance of adulthood. If that plane was going down during my 45-minute flight to Las Vegas, I knew the responsibility of ensuring passenger safety was entirely on me.

This sense of sudden accountability for people’s lives encouraged me to skip the pre-Las Vegas adult beverage. Thankfully, I didn’t have to fulfill my duty and our plane landed safely.

Now that I am a full-fledged adult, where do I begin?

First, let me start with a coming-of-age conversation I recently had with my good friend.

“If I was magically placed in a business professional setting tomorrow, I’d run out of office-appropriate attire in four days, assuming that I would wear the same pair of work slacks for two days,” I said during our intense, life-altering conversation.

Afterward, my friend gave me a nice sweater from her closet. Although this Christmas sweater could pass as multi-seasonal, professional and fashionable, my friend stands brightly at 8 feet 2 inches. The nice multi-seasonal Christmas sweater is now a nice multi-seasonal sweater-skirt.

During my four-year stint with the U.S. Navy, I often pictured college as a place for professional growth. While students were out shopping for long rectangular picnic tables, red plastic cups and the cheapest possible furniture for a house full of roommates, my sailor friends and I would joke about how different our lives would have been if we had gone to college instead of joining the military.

I used to imagine that once I finished my military service I’d have a better idea of my professional direction. Then I walked off the Navy ship I would no longer call home and instantly remembered that during those four years I totally forgot to think about my professional direction.

When my nails became too short to keep gnawing at, I enrolled into this magical educational facility where my professional growth into adulthood was going to happen. No other incident has given me more of an adult-like sensation throughout my bones quite like my college acceptance. This 25-year-old who stood eagerly in line for “The Lego Movie,” might be a role model. At least my niece looks up to me.

“I don’t think I’m going to brush my hair anymore, because you don’t brush your hair and it still looks cool,” my niece said to me before turning my new sweater-skirt into her new sweater-dress.

Before we move forward with my adulthood conundrums, let it be known that I do brush my hair. I just like that trendy messy look, very similar to Animal from “Sesame Street.”

As an adult rolemodel, I think I’ll start making my bed and brushing my hair when my niece comes to visit my apartment.

What makes me an adult? Is it my ability to recognize and react to the responsibility I might have for other people’s lives in an airplane? Or that I’ve finally started pushing toward accomplishing some professional goals? Obviously by referring to “professional goals,” I’m referring to the conclusion that I could fly to space without any need to complete NASA’s astronaut requirements.

I guess what makes me an adult is my landlord, who, every month threatens to ground me from my bedroom, if I don’t be an adult and hand her a check on the first.