Sunday, 14 August 2016

Dear Adulthood

Dear Adulthood,

You're extremely over-rated. You're exaggerated. You're a false image. Really, let's be totally honest, you don't exist. You're simply a label given to those over 18 to identify them as different from their friends. No longer in compulsory education. moving onto a different path, you're a sign that, despite being 17 only the day before, this new fledgling of an 18 year is now officially no longer a dependent. Released, flying the nest, it's now the adult's turn to make those all important phonecalls...to book their next haircut or doctor's appointment, to speak to those insurance people about money...or something...and to learn how to work the toaster and take the lid off a can of baked beans.

This is not what I thought it would be.

When I was young...(you know you're getting sentimental when you're not even 21 and already using lines like that)...but when I was young, when I was no more than a wee bonny lass, I looked up to those towering 13 year olds, then 16 year olds, then 18 year olds, then everyone over 18 years old...and I thought: 'Wow! They're so grown up. They know exactly how the world works. They know all the answers and one day, one day soon, I shall know it all too'....

Um...

Why did nobody tell me that was a load of codswallop?

In reality...you can go to the zoo in a tiger mask at any age
I'm actually one of the youngest in this photo...So there!
In fact, it was only at Christmas, just before dropping out of university that I really came to see how you don't exist. I was sitting opposite my Godmother, out for dinner, crying over my confusion and my anxiety. Trying to figure out what to do about this whole education malarkey....do I stay or do I go...when out came the revelation. My fairy godmother sat across from me, looked me in the eye, and told me the most amazing thing:

'Nobody really knows what they're doing.'

Ok, maybe those weren't her exact words but it's the gist. She told me about a friend who, at the age of 50 has only recently started university because it's what she wants to do now. There's no rules against it and she didn't want to do it at the time that society tried to dictate. So she did something else, she explored her interests, the world, created a family, and finally, now she's decided to give the uni thing a go. See! There are no rules!

As my friend's all head into their 3rd and final year, I'm starting again
...Because I can
There's also no instruction manual. This is something else I only figured out at Christmas, over this same dinner. A dinner where my Godmother encouraged a giggle from me when she described how people with children (including herself) have no idea what they're doing. How, the way I feel now about insurance and taxes and the washing machine, is how most people feel when a baby appears:

'Um...it won't stop crying! Help! Is is hungry? S***! I just changed it's nappy! Oh Balls! It can't want more milk! Maybe I can give it some of my cocoa pops? What? You're not supposed to feed new born babies cocoa pops? What is this! This is stupid. I'm calling mum.'

Basically, it's a game of sims...but live. Keeping the baby alive is the goal but in order to do that, you just have to do a lot of googling. Find those online "cheats" if you will that explain how to bypass the screaming and pooping stage and get to the next bit. The fun bit. Hang on...there isn't a cheat for babies, you say? This adulting caboodle is seriously becoming ridiculous!...

The point is, my wonderful fairy Godmother was right. There are no cheats. The hard truth is, there isn't a magical button you can press when you hit 18 so that all of a sudden the world is clearer. There isn't an instruction manual that is slowly released into your brain as you grow until you're filled with wordly knowledge about how to cook a roast dinner and do the ironing and there isn't a sudden moment when everything that felt confusing before, suddenly makes sense. There's Google. But that's about it.

You, Adulthood, are simply a continuation of life as me now, exactly how I am, except without my mum and dad in the room next door to answer the phone first or explain what that really long word means on the form I'm filling in. I have to call or WhatsApp them if I want to know why the Wifi isn't working. Scary.

My 18th Birthday party - Mad Hatter's Tea Party - not adulting any time soon
So I've been practicing. Whenever I can, I make those phone calls to those people I don't know. I quote reference numbers that I've had to write down on a scrap of paper. I email those people @info.com. The ones that I have to communicate with regarding more phone calls or forms, or even an interview, a meeting face to face. I've spoken to insurance people and bumbled my way through using words such as 'excess', 'policyholder' and others with even more syllables. I've made mistakes and had to go back. I've emailed the same person three times in a row for continuously not attaching the attachment I described as being attached. I've googled many words when I don't know what they mean........

You get my drift.

What I'm trying to get at Adulthood, is that you're not as great as you're made out to be. You're nothing special. You're just late adolescence continued and since really, late adolescence is just early adolescence but with a few more years attached and adolescence is just being a child but with the bonus of hormones and a less creative and socially acceptable imagination, really, you, Adulthood, are just a child with a fancy name tag attached. Somewhere along the line, a few things changed, physically, emotionally, intellectually but all in all, you're no different. You may have some pieces of paper that show you're very smart, and a suit that you put on to head to the office everyday. Or like me, you may have a different type of uniform to adorn to go and earn money as an 'adult'...

But on arrival, we see, that you're not what you seem. The uniform may be different and the responsibility perhaps a little more, but last Friday I dressed up in my ski gear for a fancy dress day and the week before, one of my colleagues had a plate of shaving foam thrown in her face. The week before that, my friend and work buddy showed up dressed as an apple...the list continues.

I'll leaf you to admire how grown up I look here...
I'm the Apple of my mother's eye
You see, there is no button and there is no line. There's no point at which we go from one stage to another and there is no point at which you, Adulthood, truly take control. You're a fiction. Simply a game that when we hit the age of 18, we're legally qualified to play.

Almost 3 years ago, I officially picked up the dice.

Let the games continue,