I may be only 23, but, really, I am old. Like really old.
This is a realization that I came to while fussing over getting the new artwork on my living room wall to hang straight. After spending 20 minutes positioning it and then stepping back from the frame, I finally reached the conclusion that I just couldn’t do it alone and called on my roommate’s [vastly inferior] leveling expertise. Despite her calls of “up a little on the right” or “that’s perfect, no, down a little,” I remained unsatisfied and, eventually, we switched roles so that I could be in charge of determining when it was level. This may sound like a fairly pointless story, but then think about it: how many 23 year olds do you know that even have artwork on their living room walls, let alone spend half an hour trying to hang it? None? I thought so.
I’m also the kind of girl who would rather spend her Friday evening curled up in her pajama pants on her couch with a pot of tea and a good book than out lighting up some dance floor somewhere or doing tequila shots (tequila = bad. We had a disagreement a few years back and we’re still not talking). Give me a nice bottle of red wine over a keg or a bottle of spirits and, please, give me home-cooked meals over takeout dripping with fat (pizza, I’m looking at you. And KFC, no smirking because you’re nearly as bad). My life can be distilled down – for the most part – into a couple of key activities: I get up early, I cook breakfast, I go to work. I go to the gym, after discovering that I couldn’t continue to eat whatever I liked and not have a BMI over 30, and I cook dinner. I read recipe books, get up early on weekends, go to Farmer’s Markets, watch French films and go to the theatre and the ballet. I own both a Fleetwood Mac album (it’s Rumours, so I think that puts me in the under 30 age group. It is a great album) and an old-lady tea set. I called my mum the other day, just for a catch up, and discovered that my life isn’t that different from hers (except I go to the gym – largely due to my penchant for things cooked in/with butter and/or cream). Terrifyingly: I am becoming my mother.
I have art on my walls. I own a coffee table and a tea trolley (and couches, a dining table, a kettle.)
I go on work trips.
I actually did this recently. I took a trip to the [much] larger [and more exciting] city that I lived in briefly after graduating to attend a meeting about a project and gather some clinical information from the hospital for my study. Thankfully, it was doing this that made me feel young, not just because I was 15 years younger than everyone else in the meeting (and that is not an exaggeration) but because, on my brief foray in to my old life, I felt young and did young-person things. I stayed with old friends and drank too much wine. I bar-hopped and went dancing in a bar filled not with 18-year-olds (thank God. Long live the non-College town!) but with the skinny indie boys with hair longer-than-advisable and tattoos and flannel shirts (they probably also all have guitars) that I have such a liking of. The girls all wore Doc Marten’s or high, thick-heeled boots and short, quirky dresses. The music, as opposed to being noise that spent a lot of its time being moderately-to-greatly offensive to a young feminist such as myself (most music), was the sort of stuff that I electively listen to (and dance around to in the privacy of my own home). I haven’t had that much fun after midnight in YEARS.
Growing up is great – dinner parties are fun, it’s nice to have money and nice things. I like being cultured by attending the theatre and the ballet. But I also like being young, knowing that I can drink too much wine and wake up – feeling okay – at a reasonable hour tomorrow morning. I love being able to decide – on a whim – that I feel like travelling. I love that, on days when I don’t feel like leaving the house, I don’t have to, and am more than entitled to drink tea in my pajama pants all day. Youth is such a beautiful, fleeting concept, I’m not going to let it be wasted on me.
I like to do grown up things, but I’m not quite ready to be grown up, with all of its responsibilities and expectations and inability to wake up without a hangover.
I figure that, as long as I call myself a “grown up”, I can’t really be grown up – real grown ups call themselves adults.