Thinks From The Couch 

Disclaimer: These are my own opinions even if they seem like they aren’t. They are. And you can argue with me if you like but I really don’t care because “I’m big and you’re small, I’m right and you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

I am trying to figure out when the term “adult” became a verb. I think it is a turn of the century manifestation. There is a generation caught in believing that the right to drink, get married and smoke without being incarcerated causes their childhood to end and automatically imbibes them with all the life skills required to live without ones parent/parents/guardian. 

I’m nearing 27 and I still have my obligatory monthly weep to my mother on the end of the phone who I am pretty sure is rolling her eyes over a cup of tea and the sardonic turn of page of her OK magazine. 

I remember when I first turned 20 and I automatically latched onto the nearest adult (a self-assured 27 year old student teacher who was well travelled and supremely skilled in the world of adulting….and survived with a mild diet coke addiction). I shudder to think of every time I wittered on about how much I disliked Mary-Sue because they were so immature because they didn’t agree that I was more sensible than them or because Sally-Anne just wanted to be like me because she bought the same top as me even though she KNEW how much I loved it when I bought it. Did she sigh and smile and nod as much as I do now in loving reverence to her own youthful woes? Probably. 

Each time I lamented having no money to spend…thanks to buying expensive “stop cheating on me and love me” gifts for my emotionally abusive boyfriend. The strangling lump in my throat …. on the months I was less than rigorous with my birth control pill. The sudden and confusing depression that I had no idea of the origin … following three straight evenings of student style drinking. The unmitigated sensation of failure..because, for some reason, I thought I was supposed to have my life figured out and have control of my emotions when I was only hours out of my teens. 

Apparently this “adulting” epiphany is programmed to occur in the first 12 months following leaving for university/being booted out the family home. I can give you several examples of why this is completely unobtainable; my main one is, narcissistically, myself. Don’t get me wrong, there was an essence of maturity. But if someone had shown me something or said something that I disagreed with…the tried and tested method of Facebook posting provided an unregulated outlet for passive aggressive response which used to seem tactful. I wasn’t hurting anybody as long as no names were mentioned…only people weren’t stupid. And there was those times when I was drunk and thought that sobbing uncontrollably was just what happened. There were relationships that were seemingly sent to test my resilience and patience, my ability to love regardless of others faults…when really they were sent to show me my sense of self-worth…and how little I thought of myself and how little insignificant others thought of me.

But I cooked on my own, I payed my rent, I only spoke to my mum three or four times a week and I changed my bedclothes. 

It’s only been in the last two or three years where I finally feel I’ve got to loose, loose grips with things and my sense of adulthood. Stress is still a common feature but the fridge is full, medication is taken (CFS memory permitting), drinking and “partying” (a term I use very loosely) is a fortnightly, if not monthly, occurrence and Facebook status’ are mainly reserved for getting frustrated about political bias, chastising journalists, whining about my body falling apart or thanking people for being understanding when I flake on plans to have coffee to go to the doctors or sleep. Sometimes I get excited about make up purchases! 

Arguments are solved through a breathing period, patience and tact. A dislike for others is expressed through distancing and avoidance. Shouting is reserved for moments of utter frustration. Crying is done behind closed doors and usually followed by a practical activity. Having £300 in the middle of the month is considered “skint”. A calendar without annotations means there is a lost hangbag with a full diary. Every day is laundry day. Which means that nearly every evening is sober with a 9pm bedtime. But first and foremost, I come first. 

I think that is the true nature of “adulting”. It is the moment you realise that you cant pour from an empty vessel and that keeping that vessel full starts with a selfless appreciation for your basic needs. Not to have fun for funs sake or to do as one wants. But to do as one needs. Eat when one needs and what one needs. Watch what one needs. Feel what one needs. Buy what one needs. And so on and so forth. Sometimes one does need to sleep until noon, or one needs a drink, or one needs to forget the laundry, or one needs a movie, or one needs a new pair of shoes to make ones bum look pert! But as long as you follow through with that “adultishness”, with that essence of selfless selfishness. Then one is that bit closer to achieving that epiphany; the eureka moment of “Jesus…I’m not struggling with the little things!”.

Please don’t rush it just because Generation Y seems to have a sell by date for childhood. Relish in the non-adulting…because mum and dad aren’t lying. The rumours are true, kids today really do have it easy. Kids everyday have it easy! 

To be continued,
P. 

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