What makes a grown-up? Is it simply a matter of age, or is there more to it than just waking up one day, blowing candles on a loapsided cake and telling yourself you’re an adult?
I remember turning nineteen. It was nice. School had just ended, I was wearing a sparkly dress and I felt like the best was yet to come. I had zero responsibilities and all the expectations in the world. I lived in a beautiful house where toilet paper would just materialise itself in the bathroom and there was always the right amount of fresh food in the fridge. I was going to do this and that and become this and that and I could not wait for real life to start.
I remember turning nineteen. It was fun. Then I blinked, and all of a sudden I was twenty-four and a half.
When I was nineteen, I would often fantasise about myself at 24-and-a-half. I assumed I would have, for lack of a better expression, “my shit together”. I imagined myself in my own flat, with expensive-looking scented candles in every corner, fresh bedsheets every day, and the ability to whip up appetising, healthy dinners. I never thought I would be the type of person who buys too much food and then forgets about it, only to open the fridge a week later and find all the sad, lifeless, abandoned veggie. I thought I would actually get my five a day. I try. I try. But who ever gets to five? Billionaires who work from home?
So maybe I am not as much of a adult as I thought I would be by now. I thought I would, at some point, join a gym (I haven’t got round to it). I thought I would stop having cold pizza and ice cream for breakfast (so good). I thought I would have lots of money in my savings account (ha). I even thought I would own a food processor by now (nope).
Maybe sometimes I have to wear my pijama top to go the shops because I’ve run out of clean clothes. Maybe I have occasionally showered with conditioner because I had no body wash left. But you know what, nineteen-year-old me, with your frizzy hair and short skirts? I’m still a grown-up. I’ve learnt how to wake up early.
I used to be amazing at sleeping in. Like, you could go as far as to say that lie-ins were my speciality. I would go to bed at midnight on a Friday and only open my eyelids twelve hours later, when the best part of the day was gone. In fact, I remember not being able to wake up before nine.
But something has changed. Now I just can’t sleep past eight at the weekend. I have to get up and sometimes I even feel the urge to hoover and tidy up. Take that, nineteen-yer-old me, who hasn’t cleaned her room in two weeks and can’t find her red top because it’s actually under the bed together with her school diary and that CD she thought she had left at a friend’s house. I may not own a food processor, but I’m an adult.