At one of my best friends’ twenty first birthday parties, a group of old high school friends were standing together and discussing what they have been up to lately. Some were still at university, some had already graduated and started working, some spoke about their long term (and serious) relationships. People congratulated each other on internships and jobs and mourned the loss of any free time they had previously had. Nearly everyone was busy seven days a week being an adult – including myself.
Nothing scares me as much as growing up. With my twenty-first birthday just gone, the whole concept of growing up has been playing on my mind even more. Sure, maybe you’re thinking “Hayley, you’re only twenty-one, you are still a baby really” – and honestly, I’d like to agree with you. I mean, twenty-one is hardly ‘grown up’ is it? But there are things I am starting to notice that are making me wonder – have I ‘grown up’ without even realising it?
So here are some of the warning signs I have noticed:
- The Dreaded Facebook Updates
There is a point in everyone’s lives where Facebook updates suddenly become an onslaught of engagement announcements, moving houses, and photos of newborn babies. Recently, my newsfeed became a showcase of the above, with friends younger than me getting engaged and the sister of an old school friend having a baby. At my age, the very idea of having a baby is terrifying, as is getting engaged – but people are doing these things. Don’t get me wrong, I am so very happy and excited for these people. But, when people you have known for years start taking these huge leaps into adult life, you start to wonder about how long it will be until you start freaking people out with your own milestone Facebook announcements.
- Last Semester of University
In about a month or two, I will finish my last semester of my Bachelor of Arts. As much as I intend to go back next year for my Masters of Publishing, finishing my undergraduate degree is a big step, a step closer to what my mother refers to as ‘the real world’. I am looking at jobs in my chosen field, trying to work out how best to throw myself into the nine to five working world, and honestly, the prospect of starting to work full time, even if it is in a field I love, is equal parts terrifying and thrilling.
In a similar vein to the point above, I am starting to make deliberate moves to get my career off the ground. I have recently begun work as a Freelance Editor, and have been creating a portfolio of written work (INWORDSANDINK being a significant part of that portfolio). Running what had previously been hobbies as businesses, or at the very least, as business-like was a huge step for me, and one I would like to consider as an adult one. Making decisions about how you want to run your own work, pricing that work and then making the move to put yourself out there are all incredibly challenging things and require a level of confidence and assurance that I would consider a big part of growing up.
- Organising the Everyday
Okay, I’ll be honest, I had a mild freak out when I realised I had started to enjoy getting the laundry done – it has become very satisfying getting chores done. But it freaked me out even more when I found that after all these years despising the very presence of Microsoft Excel on my computer, I have begun to enjoy making up Excel spreadsheets to organise different parts of my life. Between that and my newfound love of to-do lists and weekly planners, my life has become less of a teenage mess and more structured – maybe even too structured.
- I eat vegetables – by choice
Does anything else even need to be said? My favourite foods are spinach and sweet potato. I order salads and make homemade veggie dishes WAY more than I used to. If this isn’t a sign of adulthood, I don’t know what is.
- “The Youth”
If you are younger than me, I have probably referred to you as “the youth” at least once, or asked you what “the youth” are up to or like these days. My sisters constantly look at me like I am completely bonkers when I do this, but it never seems to stop me, especially given that I have absolutely no idea what is going on in popular culture most of the time. Fads and phases come in and out of popular culture so quickly these days, especially with social media, and it has come to a point where I have realised it is easier just to stick with the things I like. Trying to keep up with the latest trends is so exhausting and I would much rather stick with the stuff I know and love, even if it makes me a “grandma.”
Similarly, I have been giving people younger than me advice that I probably am not qualified to give. I work with a lot of people who are younger than me so when they need reassurance or advice, I’m often the one to give it to them – whether they like it or not. From “DON’T DATE YOUR CO-WORKERS” to “USE YOUR WORDS” to “SCHOOL ISN’T THAT BAD”, I am an advice giving machine. Should I give out this advice? Probably not – I have very little experience in the ‘the real world’. But if people are going to call me “ma’am” and tell their kids to hand their item over to “the lady” to scan, maybe I am old enough to give out advice as often as I do.
So, what do you think? Have I turned into a grown up without noticing? Either way, I’ll always be waiting for Peter Pan to whisk me away to Neverland and rescue me from my impending future, but in the meantime, I am going to hold on to everything I love about not quite being an adult just yet. I’ll be damned if I don’t take all my favourite things about my non grown-up years with me into adulthood, because from my experience, all the best adults are secretly kids inside.
© Hayley New 2016