|Read on to find out why these are in any way relevant…|
I’m not a proper grown-up yet. I know this because, firstly, I still live with my parents (no, it’s not out of choice; how on earth would it be?); secondly, I can’t drive; and thirdly, I still get excited about my birthday (it’s a whole day about me – with presents!).
At the moment, getting older doesn’t scare me. Drummer Boy recently turned 25, and threw a rather half-hearted sulk about it – and shortly after, bought some yellow trousers. Should I be worried? Is that a symptom of the so-called quarter-life crisis I’ve read about on Buzzfeed? Anyway, putting DB’s sartorial choices to one side, I’ve never really been fazed by getting older. I’ve wanted to be “grown up” since I was about six. (One day, I might get there.) It’s a relief to be 24; it really is. Done with the awkwardness and uncertainty of being a teenager, I can finally crack on with putting together the person I actually want to be, without having to worry about being “cool” or whatever. I can be boring and totally embrace it.
Speaking of being boring, here’s a handful of things I’ve noticed recently, that make me think I might well be sort of, nearly, almost a Grown-Up:
1) I bought a coat this winter. A warm, reasonably waterproof one – and while browsing coats, found myself saying over and over “I just want a coat that at least covers my butt”. Yes, I’m officially my grandmother; someone find me a thermal vest. I was vindicated with this one, though; during a recent walk to work, I found – too late! – that my dress had ridden up and was somewhere around my waist. The people of Horsham would have got an eyeful of be-tighted thigh that morning – but I was wearing the coat. So I think I just about got away with it. I hope so, anyway – my route to work usually has me passing a sixth form college at about 8.35am…
2) I’ve overcome my intense bath apathy. I’ve hated baths for about ten years, and have only had them in times of severe weather or illness. But now, after a hard day’s sitting down in an office, further sitting down in hot water and nice bubble bath is a treat I can enjoy for oh, all of twelve minutes.
(I mean really, what do people do in the bath? It’s like being poached.)
3) I now take exercise out of choice. I have to coax myself into it like I’m tending a sick duckling, but I bloody well do it. It’s mainly so I can eat and drink more, if I’m honest – you can’t be greedy, vain and lazy, you can only pick two – but it does feel good. And after eighteen months, I now sort of miss it if I don’t do it for a few days.
4) I like planning things: “I have a day OFF! We will get up before 10am, and we will go to this place, to look at these things! There’s no time to lose!”
5) I have opinions about the following things: architecture, weddings, war, clickbait, unpaid internships, welfare.
I mean, I have opinions about loads of stuff – as I think you might suspect, by now – but those are some of the “official” ones.
6) I have sent emails chasing people to meet deadlines. I have actually typed the words, “Could I have that report by 12pm please Louise?” And then spent five minutes chewing the inside of my mouth going, “was that too harsh? She’s probably swamped too. But we need that report or nothing will go out on time!” I’m never going to be anyone’s boss. Least of all Louise’s.
7) I like early nights now. Do I want to be out, doing shots, acquiring a hangover? No, I want to be in, drinking wine, watching Homeland, acquiring a classier breed of hangover – that’s more “a bit fuzzy and tired” than “Christ, I think I’m dying, don’t breathe near me please.”
8) I know how much I don’t know. All the writers I like and admire have read widely, and have all their references down, on everything from history to pop culture. Having spent 19 years in full-time education and only a few months in a full-time job, it’s only just dawning on me now that there’s still so much I need to cram into my little head. There really is no time to lose.
And here are three things that make me think I’ve still got a way to go:
1) I still don’t quite know what my wine limit is, nor when to leave the pub. “We’re in the middle of an amazing conversation about what the best Clash song is*/our plans for changing the world/what the best superpower to have would be – I’m not leaving! What do you mean, we have work tomorrow? Another round so we can solve this!”
2) I still have a blog. Go figure.
3) I can’t clothes-shop to save my life. I keep trying, but it’s so… self-esteem-destroying. I have to seek refuge in Waterstones at regular intervals. You’re never the wrong shape for books.
*Train in Vain, followed by Rock the Casbah, FYI.