For a while now, my husband has been talking about wanting new bathroom towels. And he was right, we needed them.

As an under-buyer, I take great pleasure in the process of wearing things out or using things up — and boy, we got good use out of those towels. They were worn, frayed, torn, stained, and generally in bad shape.

We were both home on the Monday afternoon of the long weekend, so my husband proposed that we use the time to go towel-shopping.

We went to Bloomingdale’s, where they stock about a hundred brands of towels. We looked around, identified a mid-range brand (conveniently on sale), and pulled out six white towels to take to the cash register.

As we were paying, my husband asked, “Are these nice towels?”

And I said, “Not super-nice, but nice enough. Did you want very nice ones?”

He said, “No. Just regular towels.”

And here’s the weird thing: I said to him, “ When we’re grown up, we’ll buy really nice towels.”

And I immediately thought — what am I thinking? When we’re grown up? We’re already grown up! We have a daughter going off to college next year!

This is something I’ve noticed so often in myself: I have this feeling that everything in my life is…temporary, provisional. That my adult life hasn’t yet truly started or assumed its ultimate form.

But that’s not true. I’m a grown up already. If I want nice towels, I should buy them now. I can’t expect that one day, I will magically have an adult life, with nice towels or anything else. Everything is as adult, or not-adult, as it will ever be, unless I make a conscious change.

Do you ever have this feeling? That somehow, you aren’t yet really a grown up? It’s not a Peter Pan, refusing-to-accept-responsibility feeling; it’s that feeling that nothing is yet real or permanent, but that someday, it will become real and permanent.

Even though I know it won’t.

Have you had this feeling?

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home and Better Than Before. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Porapak Apichodilok.