Seven Proofs That I Cannot Adult

  1. Houseplants

I give them water, sunlight, open space…and yet I still have a Midas-like touch with them. Except they don’t turn to gold – they just die. I guess I’m either drowning them or starving them. I can’t even keep a sodding Cactus alive and, apparently, that’s Basic Houseplant 101.

2. Parallel Parking

Give me a mini and I’ll still park it like it’s the size of a van. My wheel rims are more scuffed than Little Timmy’s new school shoes…or I’m so far away from the kerb I need to ring a taxi to get to the path.

3. Swearing

There’s your average potty mouth and then there’s me; mouth like a sewer. Before I’m even aware of it, mid-conversation in Starbucks, I’m dropping F-Bombs and C-Bombs and receiving daggers from all the Mothers and Fathers around me. If looks could kill, I’d be a dead woman walking.

4. Ironing

I mean, honestly now, who likes ironing? You spend hours of your life squashing clothes with a hot piece of metal to make them flat. Only for them to crease again. I’m the kind of person to just hang them up and let gravity pull them out. Science, right?

5. Food

Wanna know what I had for lunch today? Seven HobNobs. Not even kidding. And now, for tea, I’m going to have Marmite on Toast. I know, I know; I make myself sick. Quite literally if I keep this up any longer.
I honestly admire people who can cook a hearty meal. Y’know – meat and two veg type dishes. I’m still at the stage where I cook things that can fit into a bowl and can be eaten with a spoon.
Baby food. I basically eat like an infant.

6. Financial Priorities

When I really need to buy That Important Thing but end up buying more clothes. Well…if I ever become bankrupt, at least I’ll look good, right?

7. Alcohol Intake

Yeah I still go from 0 – 100 real quick and, some nights, I still think mixing my Rosé and my Budweiser will get me drunk quicker. It does, but I also throw up quicker, too. One moment we’ll be having a calm conversation, the next I’m throwing up over my shoulder. Mind the splash.

 

 

QLC: Part Two

I promised it wasn’t all doom and gloom, so here it is. Part two. Grab a coffee, get comfortable, and sit with me awhile…

Suddenly you’re thrust into the world of adulthood. It’s more than just a job; it’s a lifestyle, this big world. As it also happens, it’s not funny anymore to rock up on Thursday at 9.50am smelling like regret and last night’s Kebab. Least of all to your employer.

What to do?

Rest assured, you are not expected to have everything together in your 20s, regardless of the expectations of your family, the opinions of your friends, nor what your Instagram feed looks like. The best you can do is ride the Twenties Wave, babe. These years are a learning experience you will never forget; for all the wrong reasons and all the right reasons. Gone are the safe expectations and rites of passage; the scaffolding of your formative years. The world is yours and the responsibility of that is fucking terrifying.

But, I guess, now is the time to test the waters and make mistakes – this is inevitable. Let me be clear – you are going to get it wrong time and time again. And it’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up. You are finding out all over again who you are. You are finding out how you function in this world. The traits you developed in your early Twenties and as a late teen are being put to the test and, naturally, some of them have to change or be eradicated altogether. I repeat: it’s OK. You’re only human trying your best…

And this is key, this trying your best. It’s doesn’t matter what so-and-so is doing, who they are becoming, or how much they can endure before they break under the pressure. They’re running their own race to the finish line so you just focus on staying in your lane. You’ll never jump your hurdles if you’re too busy looking at other people; you’ll fall flat on your face. You see, you can only do your best. You are not expected to do their best. You are not them (no shit.) We all have different personalities and experiences that have shaped us; it’s what makes us wonderfully unique. So don’t worry about them – you do you. That’s the best you can ever be expected to do.

OK. So…now we’ve got this far, let’s get a little deeper…ready?

You in a job you hate? Change it. You’re allowed to. The moment you get to Sunday evening and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that is just a ball of pure dread at the coming Monday…yeah, you gotta make those changes. You are morally obligated to for the sake of your personal mental health and happiness. Not only this, but for the rest of the people you have in your life; you perform better when you’re filled with joy. You know how hard it is to encourage someone and have a positive impact when you’re feeling like utter shite yourself? We also need you performing your best and being filled with joy because that good shit is contagious and, the last time I checked, we were all one big earth family. No man is an island. You influence and are influenced. That’s just the way it works.

Coming back to the main point I was trying to make, life is far too short to endure what you hate for 40 hours a week, for 40 years of your life. Take the risk and be selfish – pursue your passion. And if you already have your career – brilliant! This is good. Work hard and get better and keep going. If you haven’t found your career – brilliant! This is also just as good; now you get to explore what feels right for your life. What works for you. What makes you tick. What gets you out of bed in the morning and sends you to sleep content. In the words of Baz Luhrman, some of the most interesting 40 year old still don’t know what to do with their life. Stop putting pressure on yourself to have it all figured out by the age of 30. You are the only one putting the punishing goals in place. And, remember, your self worth is not dependent upon your career choice.

It may seem like everyone else has it together but – life hack here – no one else has a fucking clue, either. Instagram, and social media in general, is a highlight reel. Those people still crap, clean their teeth, and break wind. You are not being left behind. I promise.
So what if they live with their partner and you live solo? They may never know the liberation you feel after a hard day of work and coming home to peaceful solitude.
You live with your parents still? Enjoy it as best you can. Your Twenties are a time when your family become your friends; get to know them. Ask questions about their lives. Get advice. Learn. Yes, you’ll drive each other crazy sometimes but it’s all character building; learn to forgive and choose your battles. By the time you meet someone yourself, you’ll be fully prepped for the difficult ways of love and life.

Break ups. Fucking hell. They are so hard, aren’t they? I’m so sorry if you’re the one going through a break up as you read these words. I am sending you all the love and light from the bottom of my heart. Weirdly, though, embrace the pain. Sit with it. Don’t spend all your energy resisting it as this will just wear you out. Negative feeling are just as important as positive ones; you will feel pain like this a few times in your life so get used to it. Do what you need to do to heal. Use this as a time to get to know all the crooked and vulnerable bits of yourself that you try and protect. Be patient. It will pass. It’ll ease. It always does.

“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert

This is your life. These are your unwritten chapters. Life has given you the pen and ordered you to write; so write. Make it worthwhile and make it worth reading. The QLC may be uncomfortable but nothing was ever achieved inside the safe boundaries of your comfort zone. Put it this way, an athlete push themselves through pain to get better and achieve victory – so can you.

In sum, say yes. Take chances. And, for fucks sake, don’t take it too seriously…if something that’s bothering you today won’t matter in five years time, then choose not to worry at all. And remember that little grain of sand in our oyster we talked about previously? You know what happens over time? It becomes a precious pearl.

Create a life that is uniquely yours. You are responsible for yourself, possibly, for the first time ever. Which is both shit scary and strangely liberating.

Five types of people I am suspicious of in life.

  1. Men who smell like their mother’s washing.

They talk the talk, give you the shy compliments, and your heart skips a little when they text you.
Good hair.
Great shoes.
If you can nail those two then you can be confident everything else in between will be worth looking at, too. However…they smell like their mother’s washing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer this over them smelling like three day old Calvin’s. But if he hugs me and I get a whiff of Wild Lavender and Peony – y’all know that this boy’s Mother does a little more for him aged twenty one than just provide him with a bedroom.
Yes, he pays board and lodge, goes shopping for his Mum every Sunday, and pays his own car insurance. But I can’t shake the feeling in my gut that says he’s a Mama’s Boy through and through. I bet she still irons his pants, changes his bed sheets, and has only just stopped making him sandwiches for work. And you can bet your arse on the fact that, when you take it to the next level and move in together, he’s going to find out the Domestic Fairy was his Mum all along and he’s going to expect, naturally, that the role will fall into your lap.

Give me a boy who drowns himself in Lynx every day to camouflage the smell when he’s about five days behind on his own washing. I can forgive a few creases in his best Topman Shirt, too. His bedroom a little messy? It’s lived in. His mother daren’t go in there for fear of catching him wanking or the stench of testosterone.

Bottom line? He’s not going to be stood in front of the washing machine one day wondering where the Start button is.

 

  1. Couples who never argue.

You’re either lying or hiding big secrets from each other…which equates to lying, really. Liar, liar, bum’s on fire.

No, in all seriousness – who are you trying to convince? Every couple argues. It’s a perfectly natural aspect of human relationships. Think about it; you are one hell of a complex person with more layers to your personality than levels in the Empire State Building. You come with a whole range of emotions, opinions, and moods that can change in the space of one day let alone a longer period of time. Now, mix this very complexity with another person who is just as complex as you are and…boom. You have a wonderful mess of two human beings (or more…whatever floats your boat.) who are trying to get on with their lives together.

And you’re telling me you don’t argue?

Come off it. Arguments happen when there’s a clash in opinion; whether this is political or where to eat for dinner.

Or perhaps a clash of mood; because Paul has had a shit day in work and so has Jenny…who’s going to win the Shit Off?

Usually a conflict of interest; Jonathan doesn’t want to go to his Mother-in-Law’s for cooked dinner whilst Nathan does.

It’s healthy. Honestly. It really is when you put it into perspective.

I’m not talking about full on arguments that last for days and leave you feeling colder than the Ice Age toward each other. That? Not so good. And if it’s happening after just four months together, get the fuck out of that relationship ASAP.

But a good, in-depth, rant and rave, agree to disagree, moments…that just shows you’re willing to bear your soul to someone and still trust that they’ll hug you to sleep at night and love you as they fall asleep. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

 

  1. Individuals who trust you enough to share other people’s secrets/the latest gossip with you.

I mean it’s nice to be trusted and all but…riddle me this…how do I know that you’re not doing exactly the same thing to another person you like just as much as me with my secrets?

No, babe, best keep it to yourself and deal with me whinging “Oh my gosh…why didn’t you tell me?!” later. At least then I know you’re solid as a rock.

 

  1. People who ‘don’t mind.’

Do you really not mind? At all? Or am I going to choose something that you don’t want?

If I offer you a DVD at home or the cinema and you say you’re easy either way….and I choose DVD at home…were you secretly hoping that I’d choose the latter? Do you think I’m boring?

And you don’t really mean you’ll eat anything…do you? What if I choose McDonalds over KFC? And you wanted KFC?

…But you tell me you don’t mind?

Is it me? Am I too fussy? I knew I was too fussy. I need to chill out. I really do. I mean how the fuck can you just not mind? HOW CAN YOU LEAVE YOUR LIFE TO CHANCE LIKE THAT AND LET OTHER PEOPLE MAKE THE DECISIONS?

Please, dear goodness, just give me a yes or no. Please. The responsibility of your happiness is too much to bear.

Alright maybe that’s a bit extreme but you get the jist.

 

  1. Garage mechanics.

“Yes I know you said my car failed the MOT and needs urgent repairs but I’ve been driving it for the past four months with no problems and TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY POUNDS ARE YOU HAVING A FUCKING LAUGH?”

Whatever they say needs to be done, I automatically think that they’re making it up just to get in my wallet. They’re the real world equivalent of that dude at the bar saying anything remotely knowledgeable to impress you just to get in your pants.

Except mechanics are older, slightly more overweight, are likely to be covered in engine oil over Hugo Boss, and it’s less acceptable to laugh at them and walk away with pure sass in your step…

…Or is it?

QLC: Part One

You see them now and again; driving down the M4 in their shiny new Jaguar (with cream leather interior, doncha know?), shades on, shirt unbuttoned to reveal a slither of silver hairs…Or women with red talons fresh out of the nail salon, slipping her wedding ring into her new Louis Vuitton handbag en route to Exclusive Restaurant whilst poor Jeremy is slogging away at the office. Or you get the real ugly side where a woman drowns her body in Leopard prints, dons her knee high, patent boots and sits on poor Simon’s lap where she screeches in his ear over another repeat of Rihanna “I’ve got a son just your age!”

In all its glory; The Mid Life Crisis…

Well fuck that because there’s a new, younger crisis in town…Introducing The Quarter Life Crisis (QLC.)

The QLC is a little more under the radar than the Mid Life owing to a general lack of confidence and general uncertainty that comes with your Twenties. Also, having not had enough lifetime work experience resulting in a strong financial position, there’s no bargaining with the car salesman for that new Lambo. No, our options are limited and slightly more tragic. The financial repercussions of the QLC will undoubtedly hit when we reach our Thirties – those hundreds of pounds worth of purchases from TopShop bought with the Overdraft, or the late-night splurge on the YSL handbag you needed which you put on the credit card. Long gone are the student loans, but long live the spending habits.

So, how does it start? Does one just wake up in the morning in a cold sweat and mind racing with unanswered questions? Nay, a little more subtle than that…The QLC begins with a little confidence knock somewhere. Working life, relationship, family…Whatever. Your heart gets bruised and, actually, that hurt a lot more than it should have. It’s like a little sand grain in the oyster…small but bloody irritating. This confidence knock soon becomes moments of self-doubt and, sometimes, days of pure self-loathing. “I used to be better than this!”
It’s true. You probably were.

That’s when you become swamped in self-doubt and start recalling the ‘Good Old Days.’ Whatever these were for you; College, school (and, for the record, whoever said school days are the best days of your life were fucking lying or went to Hogwarts), or university. What starts as a trip down memory lane starts to turn into a fight for survival in no-mans-land as the nostalgia panics you and you’re dodging the “What if…” “Remember when…” and “If only…” bullets.

“What if I’d actually taken *insert other degree here* instead?”
“Remember when we used to go out on Wednesday nights and, ya know, have fun?”
“If only I could go back and do it all again with what I know now!”

Oh the freedom you had! The world at your feet and what did you do with it?

The one question you cannot answer. Because you’re too busy trying to work your nine-to-five at Too Big To Care bank. Your manager is an arsehole and you need to be at the office 10 minutes earlier than 9 because they want you to start work at 9 on the dot (True story.) You’re scared to call in sick when your nose is running faster than Usain Bolt because Kathy on Admin has three children, broke her arm last Tuesday and she still came to work. What’s your excuse you healthy twenty-something son-of-a-gun?

Next thing you know your parents are suddenly demanding something called ‘Board and Lodge.’ They’re also expecting you to cook for them at least one night a week – didn’t they know that the most you stretched your culinary muscles as a student was that time you mixed the Chicken and the Bacon SuperNoodles together to form one, giant, soggy feast?!
What’s worse is Instagram. Bloody hell. 4 x 4 squares of your old University/College/School Friends suddenly looking like they’re living on triple what you make in a month. Lucy enjoying her holiday in the Maldives with those how-the-fuck-did-she-get-those-abs…and you find yourself scrolling through her upload history to see if her boobs have always been that big. (They haven’t. She had a little help from Dr Harley Medical.)

And then there’s Gareth. Gareth who graduated by scraping a 2:2, despite the numerous missed deadlines, all nighters, and sleeping with half the cohort of the Athletics team, whilst you were busting your ass studying for half the evening and barely making a wank before falling asleep.
Gareth ended up travelling across half the world, settled in Australia, and became a hot shot at his new company (bonus at Christmas.) Some people always land on their feet. Why couldn’t I be one of them?

And all the while your mind is reminding you that, only a few years before, this was not what you wanted to be. You hadn’t even heard of a five year plan but this was definitely not on the list.

Let’s talk about those few years for a moment, shall we? Because those few years were the stepping stones of where you are now and, very much, one of the reasons for the QLC.

For those who went to university, I think there was a small minority that actually knew what a five year plan was and had it figured out career-wise. For the rest of us, it was pot-luck and passion that got us enrolled. I’ll be the first to admit that University wasn’t on my radar until my Dad suggested it and tentatively said “Well, I’d like it if you were to go…” (Just to note, there was no pressure from either of my parents. I just lacked the self-belief at that point to think that I’d ever be worthy of going.) Whilst my friends in college were busy getting buried in prospectuses and trying to suss out the next four years of their life, I was getting busy with Heat magazine and ‘holy shit what was she wearing?!’ So, come the second year of college and applying through UCAS, I was very much in the ‘what am I doing’ category. The subject to take, let alone where geographically I would choose to study said subject, was more or less guess work. I chose Sociology because, well, I guess I enjoyed it…and I chose Warwick because they had a CD sale on the open day and I bought a Radiohead album. Well, anywhere with good music was good enough for me. (I was Seventeen years old, remember that.)

Everything was already pre-determined and I had a script to follow. Everything does at that age. There are certain expectations or rites of teenage passage (aside from your first joint or when you lost your virginity) that one usually goes through. You’re safe to explore the world inside these boundaries.

School…
A Levels…
Uni…
Job.

Well. In a very simplified form, anyway.

Then they say in the final year, mid-way between a hangover and your late essay, “You’re entering the big, wide world now!”

And how we scoffed! We ran the world, didn’t they know?! We have potential unlike all you lot! (Yes. I turned into one of those arrogant, awful human beings in university. My only saving grace was that I didn’t pretend to know more than I did through skim-reading The Guardian and starting political conversations.)

And besides, it’s only a job. We were assured time and time again that 80% of graduates go on to full time employment…
What we were not told was exactly where; although perhaps that Psychology degree does provide some insight into why your Morrison’s customers are absolute dickbags though, right?

Oh yeah, we thought we knew it all. But we literally had no fucking idea…

Don’t worry…it’s not all doom and gloom. Part two is coming soon…