When I was a young child, I firmly believed that I would reach adulthood at the age of fifteen, and I couldn't wait. I don't know what convinced me of this number—perhaps it was the misrepresentation of teenagers on TV, but I do know that I was absolutely certain of it. Needless to say, when I reached the ripe old age of fifteen, I did not behave nor feel the slightest bit grown-up.
I then decided that when I moved out and stood on my own two feet, that would be the day that I could describe myself as an adult. I left school, promptly got a job, and rented a room in a friend's flat. Of course this didn't leave me feeling anymore mature than when I was sitting my GCSEs. Independent and overwhelmed maybe, but not grown-up. Soon after I began renting a flat on my own, but, you guessed it, that still didn't change a thing.
Over the next couple of years, I would half-jokingly ponder many silly situations that I believed would elevate me to adulthood. Things like getting approved for a credit card, being excited about purchasing white goods, owning an ironing board, or keeping a house plant alive.
Since then I have moved (a couple of times), changed jobs (a couple of times), got engaged, had a baby, started university, got approved for a credit card, got excited about a new washer-dryer, bought an ironing board and most recently I have successfully been keeping a house plant alive for the last few months.
All this progress and change and yet my feelings toward the situation remained the same. This got me thinking.
Being a grown-up is not something that you feel, it is simply something that you are, and something that we all will be. Whether we like to admit it or not we all get to a place where we are undeniably an adult with responsibilities. Maybe that place is different for each of us, but I am sure that I have reached it.
What I realise now is how unimportant it all is. I don't know why I was so bothered about achieving the inevitable, but I suppose a lot of us were in a rush to grow up when we were young. Maybe we thought we would wake up one morning with all of the answers. I often wonder how my younger self would react if I could tell her that no matter how much she grows, she will still be clueless most of the time. I don't think she would believe me.
What is important is how you feel. I am glad that I don't feel like an adult because I now realise that the emotions and actions I once associated with 'adulting' are actually signs of boredom and discontentment or just settling. I don't know why I had such a negative view of the future but I suppose if you look at any adult through a child's eyes, we are boring. Unless you are an astronaut or something.
If I could talk to that child now, I would tell her not to be in such a rush to grow up. Fifteen isn't that great. I would say that growing up isn't what you thought it would be, but it is better than that. I would tell her that being uninterested and reserved and vanilla are not prerequisites of adulting. I would tell her that she will not just settle.
I know life will continue to unfold and things will change as they always do, but I hope that this remains true throughout my life. I hope to stay ambitious and driven and excited.
I hope more than anything to never grow out of those things that bring joy without growing into new ones.