Essays

Why failing at adulting actually means I’m winning at life

A key thing you should know about me before we move forward with this blog is this: I am a woman-child.

No, not just in the standard millennial way, moaning about how bad life is all the time and requiring constant praise in order to function. Well, that too, for sure – but I’m also a legitimate 22-year-old baby.

Don’t believe me? Allow me to illuminate.

I have a blankie called ‘muzzy’. I don’t just sleep with ‘it’ (muz is super progressive and genderless), I carry it around with me when I’m in the house. I’ll put it on the chair next to me while I’m eating dinner. If it was socially acceptable to take it to work, I would. I like to twiddle the edges around my fingers and hold it against my face, because it smells like fresh laundry and home. And when it starts smelling bad, I wash it (I have two on rotation like the leading kid in a nineties movie). Recently, my muzzies got so gross that I actually went onto the Mothercare website and ordered myself a pack of new muslins, then washed them a couple of times to achieve optimum softness. My dad thought it was cute; I think he’s a bad parent and blame him completely.

I cry about pretty much anything. Brushing my hair – emotionally draining. Straightening my hair – fucking devastating. Walking in the rain without an umbrella with said straightened hair – I AM BAWLING MY EYES OUT. But you can’t tell because it’s raining, so it’s fine.

I throw full-blown hissy fits when I don’t get my way. Recently, I decided Laurie and I needed a bookshelf for our flat. I wanted to put rose-gold Oliver Bonas letters on it (what says adult more than Oliver Bonas) and fill it with the magazines I write for, and adorn it with fake succulents and Diptyque candles. Laurie said he didn’t want a big fat bookshelf taking up space in the living room, and besides, he said, he didn’t have anything he needed to put on it. He’d rather the room had more floor space for parties. Needless to say, I went MENTAL. Crying, shouting and stomping ensued (as expected, right?), as I told him he has no respect for me or my wishes, he doesn’t appreciate me and, you know what, asshole, I’m just going to move in with someone else who has matching adulty tastes and acknowledges the age-old saying of ‘happy wife, happy life’. And the fact I still think that was a completely reasonable response proves the extent of my immaturity.

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I wear fluffy pyjamas with bunnies on, which, when paired with muzzy, curly hair and a makeup-free face, I genuinely do look like a two-year-old.

I don’t drive, I’m terrified of going to the gym (but what if I don’t know how to use the big scary machines and I fall off and everyone laughs at me?) and I have to FaceTime my dad every time a lightbulb stops working to ask what the issue is (usual advice: change lightbulb).

But really, I’m trying so hard to be adult. I started drinking coffee this year (half the mug is milk and I put two sugars in, but it’s coffee nonetheless). I forced myself to like tomatoes (adults don’t pick tomatoes out of sandwiches, they just don’t). I have a spice cupboard, containing spices like Oregano, Cumin and Parsley – and I genuinely know which one is which and I cook with them too. I wear polo-necks and culottes, not just crop tops and skinny jeans (although, I will admit, that is my usual weekend attire). And, we obviously can’t forget, I moved into a grown-up non-student flat with my boyfriend and got a proper, permanent, job at a publishing house for women’s magazines.

I know I am technically doing just fine for my age, but somehow I still feel stuck somewhere between age 10 and 15, not really sure where I’m going or what I’m doing. I see other people who seem to really have their sh*t together, and beat myself up about it. I make endless to-do lists – buy a cabinet for the bathroom, book some bloody driving lessons, force myself to like avocado – and, as someone who bases their daily life around to-do lists, I’m angry every time these tasks remain un-ticked.

I’m trying my best to ignore the empty tick-boxes, though. On my 21st birthday, I turned to my mum and said, “it’s weird, I still don’t feel like an adult.” She leaned in and said, “to be honest Arielle, I still don’t think I feel like an adult.” It makes sense coming from her – this is a woman who, despite being married with a mortgage and six kids, still squeals at the sight of a cute dog, watches Made in Chelsea religiously and giggles nervously at rude jokes.

And I guess she’s right – what really makes an adult? We never do stop learning, and we never really lose those childlike tendencies. I don’t think I’ll ever stop longing for a hug from my mummy when I feel sad, or hoping for a gold star every time I’ve done something I’m proud of. I’m probably never going to stop dancing around the kitchen belting out Taylor Swift songs, or pretending I’m in a YouTube video every time I do my makeup. I doubt I’ll ever chuck away my muzzy (until it gets gross and I buy a new one), and I probably won’t stop feeling excited about ripping open presents on Christmas Day. And you know what? If I do stop doing those things, I shouldn’t take it as a sign of being truly adult, I think that will mean I’ve lost my way.

It’s time I stop trying to be a grown-up and let myself be me. Muzzy, tantrums, Oliver Bonas furniture n’all.

2 thoughts on “Why failing at adulting actually means I’m winning at life

  1. For me, it was more like I wanted other people to treat me as an adult so I tried to change some things. It was 20 years back, but I clearly remember deciding not to wear t-shirts anymore – only button-ups. Then I started to wear some penny loafers like my dad used to. It seemed to work, surprisingly enough – but I guess it’s all a mush now, so could be that I just remember it that way.

    Like

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