Adulthood and the Magic of Q-tips


I was seven years old. It was cold outside for the first time all year, so I got out of bed to snag an extra blanket from the hall closet. I opened the closet door and my eyes were immediately drawn to a small box on the middle shelf.

Q-tips.

It was the kind of q-tip box that has a flap on the front that can be opened and closed at your leisure. I had been using q-tips my whole life. Why was I so enthralled by them in that moment? I had a premonition, a "Raven Baxter" if you will, of myself moving out. I was packing boxes. At 20 years old, I would open that same closet and see the same box of q-tips and I would remember to take them with me to my new apartment. Q-tips. Something so simple, yet so easily forgotten. I returned back to my seven year-old self and my brain immediately began racing through all of the other things I would need to do before setting off on my own life, all because of a box of q-tips. Ever since that night, I have never forgotten to bring q-tips with me anywhere. This summer, while talking with my roommate, I assured her that I would take care of the room’s q-tip supply.

All of that to say that there are so many factors that go into growing up and becoming an adult. What do we typically think of? Getting a job, falling in love, finding more time in the week to watch Game Show Network…but it’s so much more than that. Factors as small as remembering to buy q-tips.  I’m finding myself more and more aware of my adulthood as I spend time at Oxy. Three months into my paid job and I have yet to successfully submit a timesheet. I do the daily crossword puzzle in between naps and cups of coffee. I am constantly being asked about my "career" which, if you’re wondering, doesn’t exist. But having two people tell me that I will go far as a screenwriter (one being my professor and the other being some guy I met on the street named Fred Armisen) has reinforced some motivation into my little worn out body.

Long overdue, but I finally declared as a Media Arts & Culture major! I will be taking the advanced screenwriting class next semester, as well as two education courses to test my interest in a possible minor. My homework for the night consists of reading the Bridesmaids screenplay, so I can pretty confidently say that I chose the right path. But it scares me to think that the next big step after declaring a major is that thing called graduating. Once I’m graduated, there won’t always be delicious cake at my fingertips, having a job won’t just be "something to keep me busy," and the default "homework" excuse won’t work when people ask to hang out on a Saturday night. Sometimes I would really rather spend time with my blanket and pita chips than actual humans, you know?

I’ll be the first to admit that growing up scares me. I don’t want to worry about things like taxes, car insurance, or shaving. But it’s exhilarating.  Being at Oxy forces me to open my eyes to the real world. No matter how obnoxious it is to get fifty emails a day about different internship opportunities, I’m grateful to be somewhere where it isn’t the opposite. I’m grateful to be somewhere where becoming an adult isn’t optional. I am constantly challenged and encouraged to evaluate my future, thankfully in an environment of people who don’t tell me I’m crazy for wanting to write for television. Maybe it’s because I’m in Los Angeles and the chance that I’m talking to someone with the same goal as me is above 95%, but nonetheless I feel supported at Oxy. And hey, if I don’t make it big and I can’t end up getting that infinity pool and personal golf course, I would much rather be poor and happy with a nice Bachelor’s Degree. As long as I can afford q-tips.

(Listen to my radio show Thursdays at noon on koxyradio.com!!)