Let’s talk about milestones. Everybody has them in their lives. Some of them are common to all of us (usually by age): 16 = Driver’s license, 17 = legal admission to rated ‘R’ movies, 18 = legal adult, 21 = legal to drink, 25 = insurance rates drop, etc etc.
When I was a kid, I remember measuring myself against our car. One day, I would be taller than the car and, boy oh boy how cool things would be then. It gave me something to look forward to, a physical marker (besides those measurements on the door jamb) that I was getting older and growing up. Even now, every now and then, I pause before getting into my car and remember the excitement I felt when I finally did become taller than the car. It gives me an odd feeling of success, even though the goal was achieved through no special effort on my part.
In high school, I began to wonder when other people would begin seeing me as an adult. I figured that would be important because, in public at least, adults are expected to act a certain way. When you’re a kid, it’s no big deal to be riding your bike around the neighborhood while holding a wooden broom handle, pretending to be a knight on a quest. Or, at least when I was a kid, sneaking around the neighborhood with toy guns wouldn’t garner a second look. HOWEVER, an adult behaving in either of those ways may be viewed as “suspicious.” Anyway…I figured that the best gauge of whether people viewed me as an adult would be whether or not I was offered coffee as an after dinner drink. Why? Well, as a kid with my parents at a restaurant, when dinner was over the waitress (or waiter) would ask my parents if they would like any coffee. I was never offered any. When I asked my parents about it, they said that coffee was a grown-up drink.
Well, I was 24 when I was offered my first cup of coffee after dinner. I don’t know what happened, but it’s happened every time since then. It was almost as if some magic switch was thrown. “From this point on,” (insert sound of a switch being flipped on) “Kevin will be offered coffee after dinner.”
Of course, I still act like a kid whenever I can. I’m 39 years old and I still crawl up the stairs pretending to be Spider-Man.