“……..It’s convincing everyone else that you are one.”
Said my cousin when I saw her recently. We were chatting about getting older (as you do and because shhhh, not sure if I mentioned it but a milestone birthday is a-knocking at the door soon. Yeah I know, I kept it quiet didn’t I?)
This got me thinking. In my head I am definitely not a grown up but on paper, it would appear I am one – I am married, I have my name on mortgages and insurances and all sorts of important grown up stuff. I am a Mother. Of an actual human being who I manage to keep alive by cooking stuff and feeding him. I drive a car, I have a beautifully (some may say surprisingly) unblemished driving record. I actively enjoy baking and on the rare days that I get to the bottom of the ironing basket I feel a massive sense of achievement to the point where it makes me really quite happy. I like watching TV shows about sewing. I quite like a hot drink before I go to bed and speaking of which, I am happiest when my bedtime falls just before 10pm.
All those things are pretty damn grown up surely?
But on the flipside, I love a good browse on ASOS thinking I’m still in my twenties and can wear whatever the hell is in fashion. When I have a few glasses of fizz I truly believe I am an international megastar and could almost definitely be a viable replacement for any of the hotties in Little Mix. I’m convinced that my teenage years were only a few years ago when in actual fact they were an entire generation ago. Then I see the pictures and realise no, I’m old. Not crazy old, I mean I know I’m not getting a telegram or anything yet but how come the big 4-0 is more of a shocker than any milestone age I’ve passed so far?
I think it’s because milestone things have started happening too. Good things, great things, like friends having their third babies, or friends children and family members who I think are still about 12 are suddenly graduating and now have better jobs than I’ve ever had. But bad things too. Really bad. Like friends getting ill. The kind of ill where you question everything you’ve ever known and realise you’ve reached that age where these things happen more. You question your own health, the world around you, the meaning of it all. You start to realise that if you’re lucky, you’re halfway through and it goes bloody quick. Best start enjoying it.
So you start to re-evaluate what’s important and what’s not. Friendships for instance. They come and go and you begin to realise that sometimes when they do go, perhaps it’s for the best. The ones closest to you become really close. It’s not important anymore (heck, was it ever?) to have lots of BFF’s, I’m happier all day long with a few I can count on one hand but I do know whether I send a daft meme to make them laugh or a text proclaiming how utter rubbish my day has been, they will definitely be there with a shoulder to offload on or a witty comeback.
You start to realise it’s not important anymore to worry about what people think. The constant “what if” that sits on your shoulder prompting you to question even the most normal thing, eases away a little. You start to remember that the diets you start on a Monday and end on Tuesday afternoon (or more often that not, also Monday) are a total waste of time. Life is for living, not for squelching into green mush and calling it a health kick.
I may be almost 40 on the outside but inside I can range from anything between 5 and 95 depending on my mood. Picking up my prescription? I’m 70. Having a lightsaber “fight” with my son? I’m 5 again (competitive 5 mind you).
I’m still not sure I can convince many people I’m a grown up just yet. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’m ready to be one all the time anyway. Part time adulthood it is then. Who’s with me?