8 Ways How to Masquerade as a Grown-Up

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A Nunamiut Boy in a Fur-Trimmed Parka Holds a Mask of Caribou Hide Photographic Print by Thomas J. Abercrombie

Do you ever feel like your “reality” is out of sync with your dream?

I do.

I feel like I’m masquerading as a grown-up.

First:  My dream.  My dream is to become an accomplished equestrian.  To do that, logically, I would have to ride. But my horse is hurt. I’m still working on a trailer ride for him to the clinic down in Oakdale.  Rain or work has gotten in the way of my lessons.

All the other dreamers here are busily working away on their dreams.

I feel like I’m masquerading as a dreamer.

Now, the rest of my life:

I feel like when I had kids and further, when I passed the bar exam and became an attorney, one night, the “grown-up fairy” sneak into my room while I was sleeping and slapped a “grown-up” sticker on my forehead.

I’ve been trying to peel it off ever since.

How would you answer the question:

“If you didn’t know how old you were, how old would you be?” My answer generally is 22. I’m actually 37 (soon to be 38).

Hmmmm . . .

If you feel like I do, here are 8 ways how to masquerade as a grown-up:

1.  Get a “grown-up” job.
Attorney fits this category well.  But don’t work too much.  And try to make sure that your job is interesting, amusing, or at least results in good stories to tell.

2.  Wear “grown-up” clothes.
I wear suits to court.  But don’t wear your grown-up clothes too much.  Often, when I’m done at court, as soon as I’m at my car, I frantically take off my suit coat and say to myself, “Enough of this grown-up stuff!!”  Slightly silly shoes paired with your grown-up clothes will help you to not feel too grown-up.

3.  Have kids.
If you have kids at an age and stage of life that our society generally recognizes as “appropriate”, this is sure to label you a “grown-up”.  But, for goodness sake, be silly!

4.  Socialize appropriately with real “grown-ups” – but don’t have them as super good friends.
This shouldn’t be too much of a problem – if a real “grown-up” sees your slightly silly shoes, they’ll know you’re just pretending and leave you alone.

5.  Run. But I don’t mean for exercise.
Run just for the fun of running.  Don’t run seriously.  Run and bounce with your dog to the mailbox.  Your dog will love this.

6.  If you go out to a meal with real “grown-ups”, eat “grown-up” food.
But, at home, eat Fruity Pebbles or Fruit Loops for breakfast.  Cookie dough will suffice for dinner.

7.  Have opinions on “grown-up” subjects such as politics, the current push to reform health care, sports, etc.
At home, don’t think too much about these things.  For heaven’s sake, don’t read things such as “The Wall Street Journal” – way, way too grown-up!!

8.  Look “settled” – have a house with some grown-up stuff in it.
But, be restless, wonder “what’s next?”, be amazed just like when you were little.

And please, please, please, don’t forget to dream.

Even if you have to masquerade at that too for awhile.


Danelle left 8 Women Dream after a year of dreaming and is still working on her equestrian dream.

  • Kim, the traveler

    There should be a “How young are you really” test, like the Wii fit test, “What’s your true fit age.” At this point in my life, I feel old. Maybe it’s because I deal with the kids the most, and they wear you down. Things will change!

  • Danelle I LOVE THIS POST!!!! I too generally feel like I’m actually somewhere between 23 and 25, depending on the day that you ask me ;) (I’m actually 38).

    I totally agree that we need to remain silly and do “kid” stuff often… Being a grown-up is definitely over-rated and the world is just generally too serious! We all need to laugh and run and play more for sure!

    Also you ARE a dreamer and you ARE the real deal and I have rarely met someone with your level of commitment to your dreams, your ambition and drive, and ability to get a million things done seemingly at once. You are amazing girl!

    Must be because you are truly 22! I’d believe it! ;)


  • Being a grown-up at any age is hard. The more we connect with the child still in us, the more healthy we are in the world. These are just my humble opinions anyways. This is such a lovely site and your posts are wonderful. You speak from the heart and connect the reader to your stories. Catherine’s idea is wonderful and I am looking forward to see how all of you grow from this experience. Keep telling your stories Danelle.

  • I want to stay young forever, but know that’s not possible, so hopefully I will be like you and stay young at heart!

  • Remy G

    I have felt in the past like an impostor in my own skin. Like, on the outside, people see one ‘me’ and on the inside I see the REAL ‘me’ – rarely do the two collide!

    I’ve had a series of life experiences that have caused me to pause or stall at certain ages, most recently 39, and im almost 43. Its a good reminder so thank you!

  • Rachel


    I did act actually run the way you said until my knees got too bad to enjoy it.

    But I can’t say I feel like a child. To the age question, I’d say 40. I like 40 — it’s a good place to be. (I spent a few years at 27, though, and a few more at 35…)

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I tend to think that life is a series of “stages” that we move through, because there is only so much of us to go around.

    There is the stage where you live with your parents and for most of us this is a pretty carefree period, with lots of time on our hands to be very social, and participate in many fun activities.

    Then there is the go to college or go to work stage – or college and work together stage and fun gets relegated to weekend, or end of semesters or over the summer. Good friends move away or get married.

    Followed by the stage where many of us enter some pretty serious relationships and try to figure out who we are. Everyone is busy settling down.

    Then there’s the get married, buy-a-house stage where it feels good to come home to someone and you begin to build your career. Friends get married and move away, or we move away. Everyone is busy planning their lives.

    Then there is the blessed children stage (we hope) and if we are decent parents, we put their needs first. It is just the way it is because they depend on us for everything.

    This is also the taxi stage where we drive them everywhere. Add in work, a husband and grand parents who want to see the kids, and our good friends become the people we work with, because work lunch seems to be the only spare time we have.

    This is the stage can take the longest, because depending on the age of the youngest child, they need us for a good 18 years or so. If we get divorced during this time and our ex’s take the kids from time to time, then we may have extended periods where we are free to squeeze people in. The pure length of time we spend raising our kids can make us feel like the spark has gone out of so many things we love to do.

    But fun activities away from kids can depend on the job circumstance, and whether or not you pay-or-receive child support. Money might be too tight to do much of anything because Johnny always needs a new pair of shoes. Plus there are those work related commitments like BNI, or Rotary, or maybe you are squeezing in a college course to keep your skills current to raise your salary. God forbid we actually try and date too.

    Being a parent ain’t for the faint of heart.

    But hopefully when the raising kids stage is over, we can return to that fun loving stage of friends and school and socializing and travel.

    Meanwhile, we dream so we can get out of bed in the morning.