“Growing older does not seem to make you more certain. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.” -Jessie Burton

First order of business is to announce the winner of the Everything, Everything giveaway! The lucky new owner of this completely incredible book is…

LISA!!

Congratulations to my final commenter! You made it just in time and random.org decided it was your lucky day! Please let me know where you would like your book sent by emailing me at grownupsforpretend@gmail.com.

And thanks to everyone else for entering. This has been a great week for my blog and it means everything, everything to me that you all took the time to stop in and say hello. Feel free to follow along on my misadventures and keep an eye out for more giveaways. I picked up lots of amazing ARCs at Book Expo and BookCon and I want to share this embarrassment of riches with all of you!

Now, I’ve spent a good amount of time since that crazy book-filled weekend talking about books and kind of ignoring the other purpose of this page, which is to share the ups and downs of navigating this weird thing they call adulthood. I think I’m gonna get back to that a bit today. But never fear, book lovers, I have a To Be Read list that’s a million pages long, so I’ll still spend some time chatting about books with you, but I have had all kinds of grown up stuff on my mind lately that I feel the need to blather about a bit.

So here goes.

My wife and I received some information recently about becoming foster parents. Full disclosure, this is not a decision we’re quite ready to make. We’ve barely got owning a ten pound dog figured out at this point. But the thing that is so interesting about this particular agency is that they focus exclusively on placing older kids. Now, I fully realize how important this is, but, no lie, one of my first thoughts was, “They’re gonna trust me with a teenager?!?” My face still regularly breaks out and I rarely manage to get laundry done before the day I run out of underwear. How is it possible that someone in the world thinks I could potentially have a positive impact on a half grown kid? Most days I still feel half grown myself. And I definitely don’t feel mature enough to guide someone else into adulthood.

That said, later the same day I found myself pre-treating some stains on my clothes before the laundry people came to pick them up. I feel like it is unarguably a grown up type thing to pre-treat clothes instead of just throwing them all in the bag and hoping for the best.

So I noticed myself doing this grown up thing and I stopped for a minute and marveled at my hard won maturity before continuing to scrub the coffee stains off my white shirt. (Sidenote- I should seriously just stop wearing white- it’s basically inevitable that white clothes plus me equals Jackson Pollock-like fashions by the end of the day. But I digress…) And I thought to myself, “Well Self, maybe that organization isn’t so crazy after all.”

It seems to me that this grown up thing doesn’t happen all at once and for some of us maybe it’s a little slower. For me it seems to be coming in a series of little moments here and there like paying the bills on time every month or learning to carry a Tide pen on white shirt days or even occasionally having something for dinner that involves more work than pulling up delivery.com. So maybe today I’m not sure if I can positively change a life, but perhaps I’ll be a little more confident tomorrow and even more so the day after that. I definitely don’t have all this stuff figured out yet, but my shirts aren’t covered with coffee and, hey, that’s a start.

pollockI think Mr. Pollock would like my shirts better if they looked more like this, but this sometimes grownup is a Tide pen ninja now!

“Owning a dog is slightly less expensive than being addicted to crack.” -Jen Lancaster

This has been a very long three months. As some of you may know, but most of you probably don’t, we have been having some gigantic issues with the management company of our apartment building. Today we had to put on our respectable clothes and spend hours playing grown up in a court room to defend our right to live in our apartment for the next couple of months. Not fun. But, in theory, it’s an ill wind that blows no good and this particularly bitter wind certainly brought with it a handful of lessons about being a grown up.

1. Get everything in writing, especially if a verbal agreement contradicts something that is written. Example- when the nice realtor who lives in the same building with her dog says the management looks the other way about small pets, despite the lease saying no pets, do not just believe her because she is nice. Nice doesn’t hold up as well as words on paper.

2. Have a nest egg or an emergency credit card. Preferably both. Just in case life throws you a curve ball. Sometimes you get stuck with surprise expenses, like pricey doggy daycare in NYC, and it’s nice if you can deal with those expenses without having to eat ramen for a month.

3. When in doubt, lawyer up. Seriously. If you have to go toe to toe with a company whose sole interest is their bottom line, it’s a good idea to have someone on your side who can finish their signature with Esq. Lawyers are much harder to bully with forms and technicalities and not-so-subtle intimidation tactics than the average tenant. It’s a pricey investment, but the peace of mind is worth it, and, sometimes, if you get someone really good, the results more than pay for the cost.

4. Some things are worth fighting for. Our tiny canine princess (pictured below) has brought incalculable amounts of happiness to my home and I would fight for her a million times over.

Fay

And as for the last lesson…

5. Winning. Is. AWESOME. That tiny pup and all her various people are staying right in this apartment until the lease is up.

Boom. Lawyered.

Rose tint my world, keep me safe from my trouble and pain

Let me preface this by saying that this is not a religious post. That’s not really my blogging schtick. It is, however, a bit of a ramble about the concepts of redemption and forgiveness.

Forgiveness- willingness to cease to feel resentment against

Redemption- an act of atonement for a fault or mistake

I get caught up in the words here a bit, but generally speaking, the wrongdoer can try and make redemption and the party that was wronged can offer forgiveness. I think the thing that interests me about these words is that they are parallel concepts, but also capable of being mutually exclusive. A person can be forgiven without having redeemed his/her self and a person can struggle for redemption and ultimately never receive forgiveness. That just seems unbalanced to me. However, such is the state of abstract human emotion and I suppose the most that we can do is to do our best to live in such a way that we have few occasions to seek forgiveness. Naturally, this is difficult for some of us. It certainly has been for me at various points. And that’s how I ended up writing this today.

Once upon a time I was very young and very dumb. I drank a lot and did a lot of silly things as some young and dumb people are apt to do.

I made a lot of mistakes. I let people go that I should have held onto and held onto the ones that were ultimately poisonous.

I’m sure I had my reasons. I’m equally sure that whatever those reasons were, they really really sucked.

I’ve spent a whole bunch of years beating myself up for my youthful transgressions. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be a better person than the one I used to be, because I really didn’t like the old me very much. And here’s what I learned today. I want to feel like somehow I’ve redeemed myself to anyone I’ve let down at various points in my existence. I’d like to be able to offer a giant cosmic apology for being a hot mess of a 20yr old kid. But the person that’s really been holding out on that whole forgiveness thing during this process? Yeah, that would be me.

It took being brave enough to look up an old friend to realize that no one has been punishing me but myself.

And maybe the reality is that that old friend has forgiven my youthful idiocy, maybe not. But that friend started a conversation with me today about where life had brought us. Now here’s the thing. As good as it felt to know someone I had let down would happily catch up with me, I also realized it didn’t entirely remove the burden I’ve been hauling around. And that’s because he didn’t give me the burden to bear in the first place.

As it turns out, I’m the person that is making me so miserable. I’m the one who can’t show compassion to someone who has truly been working to be better.

And I suppose that means that I’m the only one who can change things. Now there’s a daunting prospect.

But if that old adage about knowledge being power is true, then at least it’s a start.

And I’m lucky in lots of ways. I may not have grown up enough to know how to cook or put together IKEA bookshelves, but I’ve at least grown up enough to stop doing really stupid things for all the wrong reasons. And if that wasn’t enough, somehow I managed to befriend some of the best people I know, to find a Brotherhood full of ridiculously awesome individuals, and to grow closer to my family than I ever was before.

So I guess maybe I’m doing something right after all.

Yes indeed, that’s definitely a start.