First day of kindergarten. I'm scared and nervous. I don't know objectively what my parents did or did not do, but I felt like no one had every told me this was coming. So I want to bring Smurfy, my very favourite toy Smurf and best friend in the world, with me. My mother tells me "If you bring Smurfy, everyone will know you have a Smurf." I think this is a good thing. After all, he's a good Smurf and I'm proud of him!
First day of middle school. I have to take the bus. Some of the older boys at the bus stop are really big and scary and testosterony (although I don't yet know that word). The kids from the other elementary school are somehow more worldly (although I don't yet know that word) and bring into our grade a whole new set of unspoken rules. I manage to break most of them the first day, before I was even aware that they were there.
First day of high school. I'm wearing blue because a magazine quiz told me that's what colour I am, not yet having any idea how to select flattering clothes. I'm wearing make-up! Concealer under my eyes, a bit of powder because it seemed like the thing to do, mascara on my lashes, white eyeshadow under my brows, and lipstick. It was actually more attractive than it sounds. I'm back to walking to school and feel very independent doing so, but I have to walk alone because none of my friends are along my route. A couple of bigger, older boys are walking in front of me but more slowly than I am, and I agonize over whether I should pass them on the sidewalk. It seems vaguely uppity (although I don't yet know that word) to pass people who are supposed to be bigger and stronger and more athletic than me, and I'm worried I'll get bullied for it. I get to the school and there's no one around that I know. My supposed best friend isn't there because the first day of school fell on Rosh Hashanah that year. Little do I know that she's decided she doesn't want to be my friend any more. She, and the rest of the circle, are going to abandon me, and the girls who are her new friends (I don't even know how she made new friends with that group so quickly) are going to be mean to me. I will spend the next 2.5 years literally friendless.
First day of university at my alma mater. I'm in 2nd year when I move into student housing the first time, and am mistaken for a frosh and told to go to a frosh orientation event. I realize early on that it's for frosh and sneak out under the guise of going to the bathroom, thinking that they're somehow enforcing attendance. There's pizza in the caf and it looks and smells so very tempting, but if I go there and buy it they'll see me. So, thinking that somehow they even care, I sneak out the other way and go back to my room, where my very first meal living on my own is a cup of instant noodles eaten in my bedroom.
Today. I woke up in the same apartment I've lived in for 3 years, put on a flattering outfit I've worn to work dozens of times before, and went to the same job I've had for 7 years. There I saw the same people and did the same work as the day before and the week before and the year before. The rules and expectations are the same, and if for some reason they aren't I can ask outright what they are. Life stays the same. No major changes. Pas de rentrée.
I love adulthood!