‘I can hear the bells, just hear them chiming’

It was waiting for me.

Purple calligraphy letters innocently marked the envelope and its contents as mine. A single silver heart sticker that sealed the flap split evenly in two as I ripped the envelope open.

When the purple accented invitation slid onto my desk, I knew my fears had been confirmed.

My first wedding invitation had arrived.

But not just any old wedding invitation. This invitation just so happened to “request the honor of my presence” at the marriage of an old high school friend to her beau.

I knew it was coming. How could I not? Thanks to Facebook, I saw the ring, the change in relationship status and, of course, the engagement photos. But this little slip of paper was official – it spelled out, in fancy font nonetheless, one for-sure summer plan.

However, it spelled out a lot more than just the blissful union of two people. That little piece of paper, with all its swirling designs and intricate scribbles, was a symbol, a reminder of a reality that I haven’t exactly come to terms with.

I’m theoretically an adult.

Yes folks, I am aware that I’ve lawfully been considered an adult for two years now. And I do all those adult things like pay my own bills and file tax returns, but that’s beside the point. As a sophomore in college, facing certain societal milestones like watching friends get married wasn’t exactly what I had planned.

Is it silly? Yes. Am I placing too much weight on this? Probably. Does that change my apprehension? Not a bit.

That apprehension has nothing to do with the actual wedding. It’s what I’ve associated with this wedding or really with weddings in general.

In some way, that envelope signaled a shift, at least in my head, from “growing up” to being a grown-up.

Since I was little, I’ve been constantly looking ahead, striving toward this exact stage, basically trying to be an adult. And now that I’ve reached it, well, to be quite frank, I don’t know what to do.

I simply don’t feel old enough to be attending weddings of friends.

And why should I? I’m only 20 years old. The last thing on my mind is which Saturdays have been dedicated to attending weddings.

Granted, I do come from an area where getting married young is common and almost encouraged. But that doesn’t change my perspective. I didn’t expect to be throwing rice for at least two or three years, maybe longer.

What this all comes down to is I don’t know how to be an adult. It can’t exactly be taught. Being a grown-up doesn’t come with an instruction manual detailing what particular responsibilities and manners push you over to a full-fledged adult. Outside of a few expected milestones, there aren’t even general guidelines.

But, then again, maybe that’s the point. Nobody actually knows what to do. Shakespeare said it best: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

Come mid-May, I’ll be joining the other well-wishers dressed to the nines to see the happy couple off. What they don’t know is that I’ll have no clue what I’m doing. I’m merely acting like an adult. Who knows? Everyone else might be, too.

I guess that leaves one more question – anybody want to be my plus one?

Autumn Allison, Vision managing editor, is a sophomore journalism major.

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