All I wanted to be when I was young was a grown-up.
It looked like they were having a fundamentally better time.
Despite proving myself academically in my latter years, high school and I never had much of a romantic relationship.
I had a theory: math and science classes were designed to melt my brain so I would stop questioning the relevance of trigonometry or the impossible real life application of the Bunsen burner. I routinely took my seat at the back of the class and engaged in serious note passing, daydreaming, or regretful wondering about the existence of a teacher’s sex life (my conclusion: it was impossible they had one, given that socks and shorts combo). (Oh and don’t even pretend you never wondered about it. You did, and it was just as weird).
English class was the only exception. It was there I learned to craft words into poetry, and found myself sitting at the front of the class instead of the back.
In my last year of school they announced they were taking submissions for this big deal literature award. (when I say ‘big deal’ think averagely-sized-deal-in-the-grand-scheme of-deals)
By this stage it was clear I was not going to take home any prizes for my startling discovery of effective neo-thermo-nuclear radiation treatment in premature albino marine creatures. So I submitted a poetry anthology for consideration.
I collated poems I had written, rich in allegory describing the failure of the school system and my general abhorrence for having to be there.
My metaphors must have been obscure enough not to have been deciphered because despite what I saw as my obvious abuse of the institution, I won first place.
[On revision, me telling you about winning the poetry prize doesn’t have anything to do with this post. But now you think I’m more legit as a writer, right?]
As I have mentioned in previous posts I sometimes used to bunk school. (or ‘play hooky’ for the Americans.) ( P.S. to me the saying ‘play hooky’ just sounds like something we were explicitly told not to do, in sex education)
I would secretly ditch
the pale green threads of oppression my uniform and go wandering around the art galleries, the library, or the museum. (I know. I was about as rebellious as a tea cozy) I would fantasise about my life as an adult; living in an old warehouse apartment talking with my really progressive friends about the avant-garde-ness of Andy Warhol, or why lesbians were the new black, or how no-one really understood feminism.
Suffice to say, when it finally came, adulthood was a bit of a disappointment.
My dream of living in a large-scale historic firehouse/apartment/warehouse started to fade when I realised we didn’t actually have those in Christchurch. However, I could try super hard to get amped about a two bedroom semi-attached flat with the washing machine next to the toilet, and carpet that made you wish you had looked directly at a solar eclipse.
Adulting was hard.
It still is hard. And actually kind of boring sometimes.
Apparently they want you to pay for stuff. All.The.Time.
There are so many forms to fill out.
You are supposed to know what a savings scheme is, and why you don’t have one.
You are supposed to understand how to file an insurance claim, and how to obtain a warrant of fitness for your car.
You start using words like obtain.
You finally understand why there was always wine in the fridge as a kid.
You think the idea of going to bed before 10 is some kind of reward.
You are meant to be in meaningful employment.
Being a ‘gypsy freelance creative’ is apparently not ideal on a home loan application.
You have to do a home loan application.
You are supposed to know how to baste a chicken. I still don’t know what that means.
You have to pay taxes BUT you are allowed to complain about it, so a small win there.
You are meant to have watched Citizen Kane.
You are meant to pick a political side, and pretend you know what the f*ck a moratorium is.
You are meant to start thinking about marriage and children
You find your first grey hair.
It’s a pube.
You stop judging the Brazilian wax.
You realise your boobs will no longer get you out of a speeding ticket.
You stop judging the women you knew were getting boob jobs, and start asking for recommendations.
You start to accept cellulite.
You start to accept all the things you need to pay.
You really appreciate that your parents taught you how to book appointments for stuff, because your therapist doesn’t do drop-ins.
It’s not all downhill (except for the boobs).
I will admit, there are perks.
You can buy alcohol with your real I.D
You don’t have to sneak around to have sex (actually, that really depends on whether or not you have kids. Or in-laws that drop by. You know what, nevermind).
You can choose what to have for dinner; cereal is totally acceptable.
You can finally use the line “well, back when I was your age” (although, in my case it doesn’t work as well… )
As boring or stressful as adulting can be, I wouldn’t want to go back to being that girl sitting in that class, thinking about teacher sex, or algebra. That shit is still depressing.
Growing older is a given. Adulting is a necessity. Maturity is ideal, although it’s kind of subjective.
I’ve probably pissed off my inner-child by not getting that studio apartment, or not co-starring in an independently produced film with Drew Barrymore, but I’m cool with that.
She didn’t know it was going to be like this. Which, is much better by the way. Mostly.