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Learning As I Go

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Adulting is hard.

When I was very small and found out that Santa was a huge secret, and that everyone around me was in on it, I accepted it with good grace. I thought, ‘That’s some good secret keeping! Good job, adults.‘ Then I watched my parents sort through taxes and insurance, bank accounts and mortgages and doctor visits, and I decided – I’m still not quite sure how – that this must be part of a different, separate adult conspiracy.

Clearly,‘ I thought, ‘this is We’ll-Tell-You-When-You’re-Older material.‘ Teachers never touched on this Very Important Serious Stuff between classes on soil erosion and the Irish civil war. Over time, I developed this notion that when people turned 18 they were invited to a place where they were given a crash course on Adulting. They would emerge on the other side knowing all these things that adults seem to just mysteriously know.

Imagine my disappointment when I realised that we’re completely on our own.

There is no Adulting Hogwarts. There is no manual.* We learn things by osmosis, mostly. A lot of things seem to happen due to a peculiar domino effect; one friend gets engaged, and then suddenly, before you know it, you have seven weddings to attend in the upcoming year. Or one friend moves abroad, and suddenly you have five far-flung addresses saved in your phone. Or one friend bought a house, and now it is completely normal to discuss where people bought their rugs/couches/lamps/sideboards and you hear the words “I really like that kind of tile” coming out of your mouth and floating in the air like a damning indictment of your age.

It’s frightening, honestly.

So here I am, officially an adult, e-mailing people about insurance and fumbling my way through taxback forms. I get my hair cut about once a year. I have never in my life been to a nail salon. I’m not even entirely sure what they do there or why cuticles are a bad thing. I’ve been meaning to go to the dentist for about two years now. I’ve had friends over for dinner parties (the first of which felt extremely mature until we consumed six bottles of wine between the six of us… and one person wasn’t drinking), but haven’t yet managed to come up with a way to consistently keep my room tidy. I am a Child-Adult collision. I listen to bluesy jazz in the evening to wind down, but dance to pop music when I’m home alone. I own a few very sensible pairs of boots, but my favourite shoes are holographic rainbow glitter high-tops. I have a drinks cabinet, but I also have a sweet drawer.

In the last few years, I’ve noticed an unwelcome amount of pressure to get engaged, and get married, and have a baby. Relatives who went straight from adolescence to adulthood without the twenty-something FIND YOURSELF phase we have today are getting antsy, warning me about my biological clock despite the fact that I hear absolutely no ticking of any kind (maybe it needs batteries?). They’re more bothered about the state of my uterus and what they see as my impending spinsterhood than I have ever been.

Now, friends have started to have children. Quite cute children, really; little chubby-cheeked, sweetly-named children with huge eyes and grabby hands. In order to give appropriate Welcome To The World gifts, I’ve had to knuckle down and learn more adulting stuff. I’ve had to learn about why people swaddle their babies like burritos, and how an Ergobaby is useful, and (shudder) what a Nosefrida** is. It’s been an education.

… And while I’m clicking ‘add to cart’ on all these things, and happily playing with the stuffed toys that I get to purchase for future babies, in a separate tab I am researching cat toys, or dog beds. I am not ready for a baby. Babies are HARD WORK. They don’t fool me with their gummy smiles and tiny adorable shoes. They cry! And they wear nappies! And they don’t let you sleep past 6.30am!

No thank you. Not yet.

So for the moment, I am happy to continue in the Slow Learner group, moving one adult-sized baby step at a time, to the tune of Gold Dust by DJ Fresh.***

*In some ways I guess you could say Google is our manual? I have no idea how people learned things in the age before Google. Imagine having to rely on your friends, family, and the encyclopedia Britannica for all of your life lessons. Just the thought alone is alarming!

**If you’ve never heard of it, don’t Google it.

***At the same time if anybody has suggestions on how to deal with concerned relatives please leave a comment below.

0 thoughts on “Learning As I Go

  1. It’s interesting how all of things I found daunting in the past, I can handle now simply because of experience. And I’m with you about Google! I Google everything mostly because I don’t like to ask for help unless I really need it. It still amazes me that adults write a status on Facebook asking when the nearest pharmacy closes haha

    1. My parents ask me things that I then immediately turn around and google. I don’t even think about it. Google almost always has the answer!

  2. I attended a baby shower a few months ago (side note: it’s incredibly uncomfortable to be the only childless/non-pregnant gal at a baby shower); one of the other attendees had recently given birth to her first baby. She literally broke down in tears when the mama-to-be asked for advice. She cried and cried about how hard it was and how no one told her it would be THAT hard. It started to get incredibly uncomfortable and basically pressed the “mute” button on my biological clock’s ticking.

    1. “….And in that moment all the parents and would-be parents in the room all turned in unison to send waves of envy in my direction.” Yes, that does sound uncomfortable.

      I’m half-joking. The parents I know have no regrets and are loving their parent lives, and I’m sure I’ll get there in a few years too…. just, you know…. not yet!

  3. It really is amazing how many years we spend in school and still never learn the things we actually need to know in order to survive/not embarrass ourselves in front of adultier adults. Don’t worry, none of us know what we’re doing either.

  4. Even when you have ‘adulted’ the confusion remains. So great going. All life I feel is a learning curve that ends only with oneself!

  5. So can you offer a PG-13 version of what a Nosefrida is or shall I just remain oblivious…?

    I too am in this time in my life where people are having kids and buying houses and I’m over here like “Snowboarding this weekend… England next month… My fur babies are so adorable…” It’s scary to think that I could have a toddler at this point in my life.

    1. It’s a snot sucker. And I refuse to go into more detail than that because I haven’t had my dinner yet.

      You could have MORE THAN ONE! It’s terrifying.

  6. Lol at the comments (do I use lol too much on my comments to your blog, can’t help it, I am really laughing out loud… but not really loud) What I can say is, ignore those people. You are very lucky to be experiencing this “adulting” phase as it is. Unlike me, I’ve had to learn how to be an adult and how to be a parent at the same time. Adulting is hard. Parenting is hard. So imagine… I guess all of us don’t really have a clue what we’re doing and will never have until we reach the age of wisdom, i.e., 60 years old (if we ever reach that age), maybe there’s a reason why that age is called “senior”…and the younger rest are just all “juniors”, newbies, minions… Great post as ever! 😊

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