Caught In the Middle: Emerging adulthood, pseudoadolescence, and stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off!

When studying psychology during my undergraduate years, my absolute favorite course was Adolescent Psychology.  I had a MILITANT professor.  She was an older woman, Greek, legally blind, and even though she taught a sophomore level course, she treated us as if we were graduate level students.  In short, this woman didn’t take any shit.  And, if you wanted your A, you were going to have to work for it. 

Of course, she didn’t take well to my peers.  But she certainly took well to me, or rather, I took well to her.  I’m a very passionate person, and so I respect passion in others – and I took her no-games attitude as such.  The teachers and professors who have inspired me have always been the passionate ones – the ones who love their subject, who want to teach others to love it the way they do.  Considering that I currently work with adolescents, I would say she did her job.  Of course, I earned an A in her class, working my ass off on a semester long 42 page interview and analysis paper for a sophomore level course – which now makes graduate school seem so TAME!

One of my favorite concepts in adolescent psychology is called “emerging adulthood,” because I’ve identified with this concept since I entered college almost seven years ago.  As a child, I had become parentified at the age of 10 following my parents divorce.  It’s not that they didn’t take care of me, but I took on the role of a parent is that I worried for them, looked out for them, made decisions based on their well being, and helped take care of younger brother.  When my mother was a single mom working full time and my father lived out of state, I took it upon myself to report to them that we were indeed, okay.  And being the first born, I took on the role (sort of voluntarily) to be a role model for my brother, and a star child to my parents, so that nobody would think that my family’s separation had hindered me in any way (only to find out years later that it did, but that’s a whole other post). 

The reason I love emerging adulthood so much as a concept is that it take into concern the fact that there IS an in-between for late teens and early twenty-somethings.  I don’t know how true this is, but according to my parents, they were able to just graduate high school, get jobs, get apartments with friends, and be fully functional without relying on their parents.  I don’t know the median age of my fellow bloggers on this site, but I’ll tell you that right now, for me, at twenty-four, I am no where near fully self-sufficient.  I’m a believer in faking it until I make it, and while I work full time, and go to graduate school full time, my life outside of those spheres is a hot mess!

It’s quite difficult on me, personally, and it seems to be difficult on my friends in similar circumstances, when we can’t measure up in terms of our adult lives.  And let’s face it, the idea of adulthood was appealing when we were younger, and now that we’re here, we’re looking back the other way with a look on our faces that says, “is it too late to go back to high school?” I mean, I just got MARRIED, binding myself legally for life to another individual (albeit, a cute one), and I’m still worried if I’m going to cut it in “the real world,” whatever that means.

The concept of emerging adulthood and it’s components is quite comforting to people like me, but I find that not ENOUGH people understand that such a life stage exists!  Think about the differences in the educational system and the economy, and it makes TOTAL SENSE that people put off growing up until it’s slightly more convenient.  So with that being said, here are five features of emerging adults, as per Jeffrey Arnett:

  • Age of identity exploration. Young people are deciding who they are and what they want out of work, school and love.

  • Age of instability. The post-high school years are marked by repeated residence changes, as young people either go to college or live with friends or a romantic partner. For most, frequent moves end as families and careers are established in the 30s.

  • Age of self-focus. Freed of the parent- and society-directed routine of school, young people try to decide what they want to do, where they want to go and who they want to be with–before those choices get limited by the constraints of marriage, children and a career.

  • Age of feeling in between. Many emerging adults say they are taking responsibility for themselves, but still do not completely feel like an adult.

    (and this last one is my personal favorite – as I have lived it!)

  • Age of possibilities. Optimism reigns. Most emerging adults believe they have good chances of living “better than their parents did,” and even if their parents divorced, they believe they’ll find a lifelong soul mate.

 

It is always comforting to have your experiences validated, and considering how I have gone through some major life changes in the last year, I find myself thinking of this over and over again.  So, I thought that perhaps, maybe incorporating this little blip into my blog would help other people, maybe letting them know, “hey man! Me too!” 

 

Back from Paris, Back to Reality

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So Mike and I have been back from our honeymoon for about two weeks.

When I got back to work everyone kept asking, “how does it feel to be married!? Does it feel any different!?”

Honestly, the answer to that is – NOPE!  Having been together for as long as we have, nothing has changed.  Sure we LOVED our wedding, and it meant a lot to us, and the party was kick ass, and Paris was a once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget – but when it comes right down to it, Mike and I have basically been inseparable since we met almost eight years ago.  I knew we were going to get married when I was sixteen.  People think I am lying when I say that, but it’s true.

Anyway, Paris was beautiful, even in the rain!

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It rained most of the time we were there, but we had an amazing time!  We went to the tower almost every day we were there!  We went to the catacombs, the Lourve, the Arc de Triomphe, and took a boat tour!  On a day when the weather was better, we laid by the tower in the grass, with me drinking wine and eating chocolate biscuits!  The people in Paris are wonderful, super friendly, and helpful despite our horrid attempts at speaking French.

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Our hotel room was small but so, so cozy.  We had a small balcony where we could sit and eat or just be together outside.  A lot of the time, we opened the double doors just to let the light in.  The sounds of the city were comforting, and reminded me of when I lived in New York when I was young.  But believe me, Paris is NOT New York!  There’s so much culture, so much old mixed with the new, and you find peace and beauty hiding in all sorts of places – small parks, the Seine River, small alley ways, cafes – it makes you want to never leave.  We definitely enjoyed our stay, and as much as I wanted to post while I was there, well hell, I was in Paris!  I didn’t even have my PHONE on me most of the time (and it felt so good!).

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I’ve definitely caught the travel bug as a result of this trip – and am looking to do some more traveling in the not-so-distant future!  I’m already planning a trip to Italy among other things.  I would definitely go back to Paris someday, hopefully for longer than six days, and fall in love with the city all over again!

Happy Wife, Happy Life! Marital Shenanigans and Prep Time for Paris!

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We did it!  Yesterday at 11:30am, I said “I do” to my now husband, Michael.  It POURED on Friday, and everyone was sure we were going to have to be married inside the reception area. Come Saturday morning, we woke up to warm weather and a bright, sunny sky.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and the ceremony went off without a hitch!  It was short, sweet, and to the point.  My brother did the music via my ipod for the ceremony, and our friend Eric took photos (along with everyone else with a smart phone).  I tried my hardest to hold it together, as Mike was very emotional at the start of the ceremony.

And what did we do once it was over and we walked down the aisle as husband and wife?  What any other young couple would do in the age of the internet – WE TOOK A SELFIE:

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I then had to RUN into the reception area and put the place cards in the right place because I FORGOT the seating chart!  After I had seated about 75% of my guests, I just started putting the cards in any old empty space – and it worked out just fine!  Everyone came in and we had a cocktail hour, Mike and I were introduced as husband and wife, and the wedding reception was amazing.  Everyone had fun, my parents danced with me and were both very emotional – especially my father.  I have spent half of my life living without him, with him in New York and me in New Jersey, sometimes only seeing each other once every month or two.  It was really hard for him to keep composed during our father-daughter dance, and it hurt me to see him cry.  My friends were wonderful, helpful, and enjoyed themselves.  We ate tons of food, drank, had cake, and took tons of silly candid photos.  

This photo of my dad and grandparents is one of my favorites: 
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Mike and I had a blast at the wedding.  We kept stopping to stare at each other in which Mike said multiple times, “Holy shit! We’re married! That’s cool.”  He’s not used to his wedding band and keeps playing it, which reminds me of when I first got my engagement ring from him over two years ago.  He and I are happy finally married, after almost eight years of being together.  We were in the car driving home tonight, when Mike said that now that I am his wife, he feels this new found sense of responsibility to be a good partner.  He feels like my well being is in his hands, since my parent’s gave me away to him.  It’s so interesting to look back and realized how much we have grown, both individually and as a couple, although some things will never change.

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When we got home and settled down, we took a wish lantern that my dad and given us to let go outside.  It was hard to do with two people, but when we lit it, we both said we wished for a happy, healthy life. 

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Tomorrow evening we leave for Paris!  We’ll be gone for about six days, a needed and deserved vacation for us both.  I can’t wait to sit back, relax, and soak in the city.  It’s definitely going to be the trip of a lifetime and believe me, there will be PICTURES!

 

I am Getting Married in Five Days

I am currently procrastinating on an assignment – a portion of a group presentation on the Latino American experience and it’s implications in counseling.  The semester ends in two days, and on Saturday I will be getting married.

I certainly didn’t intend for all of this to happen in the same week.  When we planned our wedding date, I thought I would have AT LEAST a week in between school and the big day.  And it has been a CRAZY semester, between being a full time graduate student, working full time, and planning this wedding.  I’m beyond exhausted, and sometimes I say, “why do you DO THIS to yourself?”

Before I get way too deep and steer completely away from my assignment – while this would seem like self-punishment for something on some level, and while I AM so tired that I think the bags under my eyes have indeed become permanent (will see how long you last on the big day, eye-bags *shakes fist*) I am a mix of stressed and relieved of stress.  I would not have wanted to plan this thing over the summer, when all I have to worry about is work, so it works out in that I worked SO hard this semester, my reward is a five hour party and a week long trip to Paris.  Seems to balance out my wanting to scream or cry or both over the last three months.

I have been with my fiance for eight years, since I was sixteen.  It was been an insane eight years when I look back.  And even though our life is WEIRD and sometimes wacky, I wouldn’t trade what I have right now for anything in the world.  My head is currently in the clouds, as I am almost in disbelief that the boy that I had my first slow dance with, my first bouquet of flowers from, is going to be the man that I am marrying.  He and I definitely have something special, there is no doubt about that, and I consider myself lucky that someone has been willing to love me through a third of my entire life.

And perhaps this wasn’t the best time to start this blog-project-thing, as if I don’t have enough going on. But in all honesty, I very rarely plan ahead, and things usually have a way of working themselves out.  And what better way to introduce myself to the blogging world?

What’s up guys. My name is Cait. I’m 24. I’m a grad student and soon-to-be young wife. I have a wacky cat named Winston and a love for the gym, crafts, and music. I’m a opinionated kid with a lot to say but oftentimes the inability to organize it in a way that makes sense.  You’ll get used to it. I’m a big kid in a 24 year old body, I’m getting married, and the next chapter of my life starts on Saturday.