Eating Your Vegetables

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

I love this little entry to our adulthood series from Valerie Earnshaw, who offers some lighter fare to the stories of infirmity and death and tyranny:

I was really jazzed to make and eat a beet salad one day—luscious beets, crunchy walnuts, and sweet cranberries on a bed of baby spinach drizzled with balsamic vinegar and oil. The realization hit me as I took my first bite: I was, quite officially, an adult. Non-adults simply don’t get excited about beet salads. By this point, I had blown by several adultish milestones without feeling like an adult: I had earned a PhD, lived with someone whom I referred to as my “partner,” paid bills and taxes, and took care of a dog. It wasn't until I felt that excitement for that beet salad, however, that I knew I had become adult.