Yesterday my friend sent me a photo of a dog lying down on some decking with the words ‘Help me, I cannot adult any more’ plastered across it. The kind of thing you laugh at manically when you’re having a bad day and screenshot from Facebook to pass on to people who you hope will understand your struggle.
I was thinking recently that maybe I shouldn’t have stayed in my last ‘ becoming an adult phase’ for so long. Should I have moved sooner? Saved more? Planned more? Then I realised, actually no. Nothing is ever a waste of time if you look back on it fondly.
I remember the first time I thought to myself ‘shit, this might be harder than I thought’ about being a fully-fledged grown up. This was back in 2013, when I had just turned 22 and wasn’t actually a fully-fledged anything. I’d just moved into a new flat after finding my feet post-uni with a decent job and enough money to spend on rent, not just on coffee and the occasional Primark haul. I was feeling pretty happy about having taken the next step into adulthood. Then basically, I was sitting in the kitchen and heard a noise coming from the washing machine and realised I had accidentally put a spoon in there with my bedsheets, which was now crashing around in the foamy water. It was a new, alien washing machine and I couldn’t work out how to stop it, so me and my boyfriend just sat and watched that spoon churn around until the wash had finished. Oops.
A spoon in the washing machine is certainly not my biggest mistake as an adult in training, obviously. The two and half years in that flat with my friends demonstrated that we were very much all in the struggle together. From putting Olbas oil in the shower and having it get to places you really don’t want it to, to putting together flat-pack furniture and helping each other through family fall-outs and romantic issues. It was sort of like a bootcamp for what’s to come later in life. We battled mice, dealt with boilers, reported suspected gas leaks, hung out with handymen, recycled, sampled carpet cleaner, learned to cook Malaysian food, rowed with unwanted guests, rowed with each other, had rowdy NYE parties and gagged while cleaning the hob.
I didn’t imagine it the time I spent there would be what it was, but I’m so thankful it happened. From learning what good wine is, to how make bread and the best way to clean limescale, with an audience of good friends to watch, applaud, laugh and help.
I don’t think anyone really knows the right way to be an adult. But if you do, keep it to yourself. The learning bit is more than half the fun.