On Becoming A Real Person

For the longest time, I believed that every shrimp was essentially a mermaid. Which is to say, I figured they all swam around in the sea exactly how they appeared when they came to me with my dinner: weird little limbless wonders who must have had incredible (tasty) muscles they'd use to swim around just like Ariel. About five years ago, I found a video on YouTube of a shrimp running on a treadmill. I don't have a good answer for how I found it (do you have a good answer for how you found a video of a cat playing patty cake? no, you don't, so stop judging me). Upon finding the video, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I called my mother at the age of 24 to ask her if shrimp have legs. Mom: "Seriously? Are you seriously asking me this question?"

Drew: "Does anyone randomly call their mother for sport to ask her things like this? No, I'm asking you because you're the only person I know who won't make me feel too dumb."

Mom: "Oh, honey. Even I think you're dumb this time. Yes, Drew. Shrimp have legs."

Drew: "Please don't talk about this phone call with anyone. I love you."

(Hangs up.)

A lot of things happen along the way when you're growing up. I think about not knowing that shrimp had legs. And I ponder about the time I figured out that water, in fact, costs money and that you don't get to use it in your apartment for free (because it's water, why SHOULD you have to pay for this?). I think about a lot I guess.

And lately, I think about it more than ever because I'm turning 29 in a few days.

For some reason, it feels like a big year. It's the year that you say when everyone makes that face. The one that says, "one more year." Because for most, turning 30 is the non-denominational Bar Mitzvah to becoming a real person or adult. We, as a society, take people who are thirty a bit more seriously. Because we're pretty sure they are finally in the process of being a real person in the world.

Don't get me wrong. Your twenties are when you learn to become an adult. Look at it this way. College was essentially when people didn't know what to do with you, so they put you in a four year institute that basically rivaled day care with drugs and alcohol: it's like they dropped us off at Chuck-E-Cheese to play in the ball pit so they didn't have to deal with us for a bit. Your twenties then are just essentially an extension of that: no one actually wants to deal with you, but everyone just wants to make sure you're at least trying to figure it out. Getting remedial jobs. Picking a career path, give or take. Paying your taxes. It's like a warm up.

But your twenties aren't exactly real life yet. Your employer finds it hilarious/expects you to be hungover most days. They always lament how they, "miss those days" of care free sex and rampant horrible behavior. If you have a job at all, people tell other people that, "Drew's doing great." You still wear halloween costumes with reckless abandon. You're not quite ready to let go yet. And that's the way it should be. Live out the glory days.

And then one day, you wake up and you're one year away from the other side. That's where I am. And you look back on everything and realize that, just like they told you, this would all be hilarious in retrospect. Those "NO ONE UNDERSTANDS" breakups. Those downer times where you felt like you didn't exactly know where you were going. It all makes sense.

Because...one day you wake up, and you know where you're going. You frame pictures and actually hang them. You learn the names of restaurants you'd like to take people to when they're in town, because you're a local now. You relate to your city because well...you're an adult in it, and feel like you're a part of the culture. You save money from time to time, because you might actually...no wait, you need to do that.

And the next year of my life, the "29-oh-that-means-you're-almost-30" birthday, it's looking pretty good. Because I realize this is the last year I have in my twenties, and I've still got a few (okay more than a few) benders to go before I turn the corner. And they won't stop when I get there, but maybe they'll just have a little more direction before and after I'm in them.

Maybe I won't wake up playing Drew's Clues every morning anymore. Which goes like this:

Drew wakes up on the bed. Pants are on, shirt halfway off. 3 of the 4 pillows are on the bed. There is won ton soup on the table. Drew doesn't remember ordering won ton soup. Half of a bottle of red wine is in the kitchen. There is water. Good job, Drunk Drew. That was nice of you. You poured water. We needed that. There is a stamp on his hand. Annnnnd go.

We all play this game often and know how it goes. It's like watching the movie Memento and deciphering a night out from a string of random thought starters you left for yourself. It's fun. But it's fun in the "I'm disappointed in myself" kind of way. So, not that fun.

Point being.

I like the sound of being a grown up. I think I'm getting closer. I still don't quite get how to tie a tie. I'm still attracted to books with pictures in them. I still like rap music, even if I relate to it in not one way. I bite both ends of a red vine and use it as a straw at the movie theater and I still think Capri Sun's are a hoot.

But I'm more awake than ever. I think I'm starting to figure out the "life" thing.

And I know that shrimps have legs.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 40: Even Grown-Ups Wanna Use Red Vines For Straws.

Stream the whole thing at the link up above.


Download the whole thing in Mp3's right here.

Drew Hoolhorst

I have a black belt in feelings.