AGE? Twenty one.
Adulthood might be a myth, but pretending to be an adult is an everyday reality. And it starts again tomorrow at 9am.
You're sat in your favourite student bar knocking back barely alcoholic £2 cocktails with a bunch of misfits, (at least a third of your group aren't going to graduate). Three years later, armed with one of those lusted-after graduate jobs, you're perched on a barstool at a pretentious new understated and overpriced drinking establishment, reluctantly parting with the best part of a £10 note for a cocktail (still barely alcoholic) in the company of 'grown-ups'. The kind of people that share bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, simultaneously savouring the top notes whilst swishing liquid joy around in a glass. When did we become these people? Why did we become these people?
Do we really make a transition from kidulthood to adulthood?
As a kid, all you want is to be a grown-up. I distinctly remember looking at my parents, my [not really my] auntie who was my full-time next door neighbour/part-time homework helper, and teachers at school and thinking 'wow, they're so grown up'. Now I have friends who are teachers and I'm a willing accomplice to their weekend extra-curricular activities. True adulthood is an urban legend. My friend, armed with extra-black waterproof mascara and heavy-cover foundation masks her immaturity in front of a class of thirty on a Monday morning. She was sick in her handbag a mere 24 hours beforehand. She claims it was a tactical chunder. She's a liar. But at least she's a hot mess with a mortgage, right? She's conforming to society's demand that she's a homeowner by the time she's 30.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A fireman? A police officer? An actress? Britney Spears? I bet you never said 'I want to be an IT engineer' or ‘I want to be the guy dressed up as a watch’ (you know? The guy advertising for The Watch Shop ten yards to the left).
The biggest tale we're told in school is that if you're smart, you'll earn lots of money and be successful. That's a lie for more reasons than one. Lesson one: being smart doesn't make you rich. Ask any academic. Lesson two: lots of money is a measure of success. I am sure Richard Branson doesn't cry about the $4.8 billion he's amassed before hitting 65. He has the luxury of earning money doing something that makes him happy. How many of us can say the same? Or are we in jobs that compensate us relatively well for our unhappiness? Jobs that fuel our Saturday night escapades, and pay for our hipster hangover brunches on a lazy Sunday afternoon? I'm refusing to abandon the notion that I can find a career that spurs me to sprint in stilettos to the office, that challenges and rewards me, and that I would invest in after-hours without the promise of time-and-a-half. How many of us can say the same?
None of us are really grown-ups. We're children with overdrafts and cars.
We go to the gym, to only then combat the good we did in Tesco with a basket full of e-numbers like some unchaperoned kid at a six-year-old's birthday party. We don't have all the answers. We don’t really have our shit together. We just make it up as we go along and hope that nobody notices how clueless we really are. We hope we stumble across the dream job that turns into an esteemed career. But I guess the real difference between being a child and being a grown ass adult is the 'r' word. Responsibility. Responsibility for more than just putting the lids back on the felt-tip pens and hiding the wrappers of the Skittles you stole out of the cupboard whilst your mum's back was turned. Whilst we might not ever feel completely like we have all the answers, we still have to pay bills, rent/mortgages, Spotify/Netflix membership fees, and remember to feed the cat.
Adulthood might be a myth, but pretending to be an adult is an everyday reality. And it starts again tomorrow at 9am. Set the alarm for 7.30 am.
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