I got my hair cut this week. I usually wear my hair long, which makes it easy to just pull up into a ponytail or a bun every day and ignore it, though once in a great while I will put in the effort to brush, blow dry, and straighten it.
Honestly, though, even at almost 30 years old, I have no idea how to make myself look presentable, let alone chic and put together. After searching hairstyles online and talking to my hairdresser, I finally decided to make the biggest commitment of my life, bangs. I had this idea that bangs would make me suddenly look sexy and sophisticated.
For someone as accustomed as I am to being able to jump in the shower, towel dry my hair and run out of the house with my wet hair making big splotches on my shirts, bangs are a more serious commitment than trying to maintain an adult relationship with my boyfriend. Now I have to blow dry my bangs every morning to make sure they don't flip and turn in funny directions, and I certainly can't leave the house in the morning without a shower unless I am assisted by the helpful grasp of four to five bobby pins.
My son, Silas, appreciates this change; it took him a moment to recognize me with my new hairstyle, but quickly voiced his approval. Silas, who's always looking out for my best interests, used to hate it when I left the house with wet hair. My boyfriend, after receiving the picture I sent him via text message said, "Cute. Now you look 12."
I've always looked young. I have big round cheeks, dress in clothing that puts an emphasis on comfort, and occasionally wear my hair in braids. At the age of 29, though, I'd be more than happy just to look my age. When I got to work and had the chance to show off my new hair, one of my co-workers said, "Oh, it looks great! It takes 10 years off!" Really, is that what I'm looking for? Looking like a teenager again? Maybe for once I'd like to look — and feel — like a grown-up.
I feel like this week I just started to feel like an adult. I cut my hair into something a little more trendy, started to focus on drinking more water, packed my own lunches for work with things like chicken and asparagus (nothing says "grownup" like eating vegetables by choice), and started taking a multivitamin. Except don't tell my mom that last part. I'm pretty sure I've been telling her for years that I'm already taking a multivitamin.
As I proudly presented my empty water bottle and blow-dried hair to my co-workers, I told them that maybe I'm finally growing up and becoming an adult. With that comment, one of my favorite co-workers told me that she still doesn't feel grown-up either: "When my AARP magazine arrived for the first time in the mail, I thought this is it, I'm actually all grown-up now! But that feeling didn't last very long. I still don't feel grown-up."
I'm always going to spill my water while sitting at the dinner table, and I'll never know which fork to use if I ever step foot in a fancy restaurant. I have freckles and a closet full of T-shirts rather than blouses. Maybe I'll never feel all grown-up, but maybe I can start incorporating the little things, like eating a breakfast that doesn't come frosted and out of a toaster, drinking water, and taking those dang multivitamins.
Maybe I'll even come clean to my mother about my multiple-yearlong multivitamin farce. Nah, I'll never be that grown-up.
Zoe Abel is learning to use the blow dryer and trying to grow up at least a little faster than her son. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.