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Gwen Rockwood: What would a real grown-up do? Most of us will never know

by GWEN ROCKWOOD | January 20, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

Last night I opened a bathroom drawer to reach in for a clean hand towel. There wasn't one there. I sighed and shuffled toward the laundry basket in the next room, where the folded towels had been sitting in procrastination purgatory for at least two days -- clean but not yet put away.

I grabbed a towel, headed back to the bathroom and heard a voice in my head say, "One of these days I'm really going to get it together." Somehow, this made me feel better -- optimistic that once I reached that elusive "someday," my proverbial ducks would be lined up in an organized row, each one carrying a clean, folded hand towel.

Just for the sake of research, I decided to ask the little voice in my head to list the things a bona fide grown-up would do to "get it together." After all, you can't get it together if you don't know what "it" actually is. Here's what I came up with. Feel free to add your own ideas to the list.

A grown-up human who has got it together does the following:

She cleans out all the closets in her home, organizes them using matching bins and a label maker, and keeps them in perfect order thereafter.

She "strengthens her core" and avoids dairy.

She meditates for more than three days in a row before forgetting all about it.

She remembers to check voice mail.

She learns to cook healthy meals her family likes instead of fantasizing about how good cheese dip would be.

She keeps a tidy email in-box, deleting the junk and old messages instead of using it as a jumbled archive of her life and wondering if her computer will explode once she has hoarded more than 5,000 emails.

She flosses more often than the night before a dentist appointment, and she never lies to the dental hygienist about her flossing frequency.

She uses a fancy app on her phone to help her remember where she parked instead of wandering around the Walmart parking lot while holding her key fob clicker above her head, trying to find the chirp of the car horn.

She works on her tax stuff before she absolutely has to and learns to love a good spreadsheet.

She promptly deals with the clothes in the dryer before they sit there abandoned, wrinkling into an unrecognizable form.

When her husband or kids ask her where something is, she knows the answer. Every. Single. Time.

She never needs to reset her forgotten password after neglecting to write down the old one, convincing herself she would definitely remember the new one. (Spoiler alert: She didn't.)

She becomes the kind of early bird who gets more done before 8 a.m. than most people do all day.

She completely understands the stack of documents she signs when refinancing her mortgage, instead of nodding at the closing agent in what she hopes is a convincing portrayal of an actual grown-up.

She eats steel-cut oats for breakfast (and understands what steel-cut means) instead of using a toasted bagel as a cream cheese delivery system.

Doesn't my future self who has it all together sound ultra-competent? If I ever meet her, I'm going to be super impressed. I'll probably have to ask to borrow her hand towel.

Gwen Rockwood is a syndicated freelance columnist who first published this column in March 2021. Email her at gwenrockwood5@gmail.com. Her book is available on Amazon.

Print Headline: What would a real grown-up do? Most of us will never know

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