Maybe I assumed once I got my first job after college, paid bills, started a 401k and ceased to have a curfew that I was considered a real adult.
But that assumption was proven wrong today when I got into a foul mood while talking with my sister about holidays.
My family is number one, and traditions are crucial to me. My sister is family-oriented too, but she also has a serious live-in boyfriend. So they have to juggle whose family they visit for holidays.
As we started talking about her missing another Christmas so she could be with his family, it dawned on me that this is what it means to be an adult - you find a life partner, and that becomes your new family. You can no longer just skip over to your grandma's house, open gifts with your cousins and watch "A Christmas Story." You have to do things as a unit, and this new partner basically becomes your No. 1.
Problem is - I don't know if I'll ever be able to do that. My family is my blood. I didn't get to choose them, but I got pretty damn lucky. I have so many wonderful childhood memories of our holidays, so it's hard for me to imagine disrupting tradition. Things are changing - people are getting older, starting families of their own, moving away. And I hate it.
Call me Peter Pan, but I want things to keep going as they have been for the last 27 years of my life. I don't want to grow up and miss out on one ounce of family time. That's idealistic of me, I know, but sometimes change it hard.
My sister might be moving across the country, and she plans to spend pretty much every Christmas with her boyfriend's family (the trade off is he will spend Thanksgiving with ours). They are probably going to get married one of these days, which is so exciting, but a selfish part of me just wishes we could go back to being the little girls in our playhouse, making home videos and playing "Mall Madness."
I don't know. Maybe this is all a result of me being alone. It's hard for me to picture sacrificing seeing my family for some future, remains-to-be-seen guy. But I know I'll have to grow up eventually and start new family traditions of my own. And I'm sure those will be exciting times and a special new phase in my life.
But until then, I'm still nostalgic for the "good ol' days." And it's true when they say that it really sucks to get older.