One of the first jobs I ever applied for after I graduated university was as a copywriter for an ad agency. The woman who interviewed me (let’s call her Alice) was exceptionally nice and personable and started the interview with some friendly chat.

Alice mentioned my dimples and how when she was a child she was obsessed with wanting dimples. Alice pointed out that she was very tall and broad for a female, even as a child, and she used to think that dimples would make her cuter and more adorable.

I told her that I thought having dimples made it difficult for grown-ups to take me seriously sometimes because I always looked like I was smirking.

Alice smiled and said, “It’s funny that you said “grown-ups” because I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you’re a grown-up.

I must have looked completely stunned at this revelation because she burst out laughing. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that I could be a grown-up. It was the first time that the idea that I might be a grown-up had ever entered my mind.

I didn’t feel grown up. I mostly still don’t feel grown up. Often, when I’m with older people or even people my own age or even sometimes people younger than me, I think of them as grown-ups. I usually do not feel like a grown-up. But, I don’t feel like a kid anymore either.

I feel too wise and comfortable and responsible and tired to be a kid; but I don’t feel serious or established or rich enough to be a grown-up. I’ve never done a lot of the things that most grown-ups have done.

I know lots of grown-ups and I wonder if they feel like grown-ups. Some of the people I grew up with are now grown-ups and sometimes that’s kind of a scary feeling – like a “left behind” feeling.  Most of the time I’m okay with it though.

What’s your definition of a grown-up? Do you feel you are a grown-up? When did you become a grown-up? If you’re not a grown-up, why not?

PS: I got that copywriting job and Alice said it was because I was so shocked that someone had called me a grown-up.  Alice was a great interviewer and maybe even a nice person in real life, but she was some kind of freaky nutbar of a boss. Her madcap antics drove me straight into the arms of the federal public service.