Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Go away time, I'm not ready to be a grown up yet.

I used to watch my parents at dinner parties from the kids' table with wonderment at how very sophisticated and wise they were. There were things for instance that, in my mind, only adults could do. My father used to do this trick with a penny where he would rub the penny on his arm and it would disappear. He was no Houdini, and it didn't actually disappear into his arm of course, but I spent a good part of my childhood thinking that my dad's arms were full of pennies. When I got a little older, I marveled at my mother. She had this beautiful perfume that she wore when she went on dates with my dad. She would apply lipstick and spray perfume and leave the house with my father, wearing her good coat, which meant my sister, my brother, and I got to order pizza and they would be back late. I used to wonder why, with all of the freedom and power that adults had, did they seem to only sit around all day talking? Surely they would much rather lube up the underside of a crazy carpet and take it for a ride down the winding staircase?

Well into my teens I started mimicking adult behaviour. I had a fascination with dinner parties and martinis. Even though I thought dinner parties were slightly boring and martinis were disgusting. I had ideas about what a successful life should look like in all its stages and I started attaching these ideas to stuff; food processors, ottomans, glassware, and perfectly matching undergarments. My pubescent brain perceived these things to be very grown up.

Tucked away in these musings were my own fantasies of what kind of an adult I would be, and I dreamed in stuff. Grown up stuff, like a gigantic king sized bed, the kind that has too many pillows, and fancy pantsuits that I would have to pick up from the dry cleaners. I dreamed about matching linens, and dish sets with matching glassware. I would have a job that required me to look smart while I made VERY important decisions. I would have money and I would never be bored.

I guess I assumed that I would magically wake up one day and find I had become a fully rational, fiscally responsible, emotionally mature 'adult.' As if there were some kind of border between adolescence and adulthood, where passport control would stamp me with the bold black letters: WELCOME TO ADULTHOOD, and usher me towards baggage claim where I could pick up my pantsuit and sense of purpose.

Alas, here I am in my thirties, I only recently got myself a bank account as I was tired of keeping my money between the mattresses and life seems to have cheated me out of my fair share of throw-pillows. The temporary teaching job I took after university became a lengthy detour around the globe, and besides some short-lived glimpses into adulthood induced by trips to the grocery store and healthy diet choices, I still feel like I'm watching all of my grown up friends from the kids' table.

I feel like I am stumbling around in giant plastic pearls and over-sized pumps, and I am not sure if I have it in me to be a proper adult. Being a grown up requires me to do stuff. Stuff like getting a mortgage, and choosing drapes. I guess the biggest wrench in the works is that I am just not that responsible. Despite how hard I try I can't remember to water plants, my bedroom is always a mess, and and I still want to ride a crazy carpet down a flight of stairs.