I’ve always prided myself on being financially independent. If that meant I’ve done without things others my age have had, ever since middle school when my peers’ parents bought them any clothes or accessories they wanted and up through adulthood when people’s parents paid for their rent, then it was only another badge of pride to wear secretly. But in the eyes of the law–or at least “the law” according to real estate companies–I’ve been dependent on others. I’ve had to have a guarantor for every apartment I’ve rented. While it was solely for show, as my dad never had any idea how much rent I was paying, when it was due, or who I paid it to, the guarantor agreement was still a legal sign that I couldn’t do everything on my own.
I’ve always felt like a child. Regardless of the number of years I’ve spent on this earth, or what I’ve accomplished, there’s always been this incessant sense that I haven’t yet grown up. Sometimes–like when I don’t want to be boring and responsible and stressed–I’m happy about that, but often I’m worried about it, especially because most of the time I am boring and responsible and stressed. “When did you feel like an adult?” I asked my mom. “I think when I had kids,” she said. That didn’t help.
I’m not saying that as soon as I signed a lease and left the guarantor section blank I suddenly felt like an adult. That would be a simplification purely to serve a blog post. In fact it’s probably an effect of a combination of many things over the past year that I have made occur, and that others have made occur, and that have occurred on their own without an obvious instigator. It’s likely a result of many things I can’t name and that you wouldn’t want to read about anyway. And it’s not an all-encompassing feeling. It’s not like I suddenly don’t appreciate dumb jokes at almost any time and want candy or ice cream almost constantly and desperately desire to bounce on a moonwalk always.
It’s just that I feel a little grown up. In a good way. And I think foregoing a guarantor helped make it happen.