Today, I was almost reduced to tears [it really doesn’t take much. My record is a dog food commercial] because I tried to be an adult and it didn’t work.
There was a lost dog wandering around our compound which followed me home while I was walking my neighbour’s dog, so I decided to do the grown up thing and call the council, seeing as it was friendly but didn’t have a tag. The friendly man on the phone named Timothy informed me that someone would be around to pick him up within half an hour.
I waited in the cold and the dark for an hour before finally giving up once the dog started to get super friendly with another dog- I have my limits, and today I reached them while sitting on the curb watching the driveway because I had to watch anything other than that dog right then.
I went inside, had a hot shower and fretted about that dog. I hadn’t gotten a phone call, no one had come to the door and eventually, I decided to sit down and watch funny youtube videos- after all, I had been mature enough for the day.
THREE HOURS LATER, a man knocks on the door. He has driven from over an hour away, in the cold and the dark, to pick up this dog. It not having a collar, and us having a canine-phobic canine, I had left it where it seemed happiest. I wanted to bring it into the house [and force poor Enzo outside], but it would not follow me and I wasn’t going to get in the middle of it’s new found love affair, so I walked away. And now this man had turned up and I had nothing to show for his travels. What was worse was that he’d called three times to check we had it before coming out, and my phone had been on silent in the living room.
So I present to you this situation.
I was kind of proud of myself for trying to do the right thing. I went above and beyond to do the right thing, for about an hour. And then, somewhere along the line, I lost that thread of grown-up-ness and I got in trouble with a tired man who thought I could have done more. And I also got lectured by my parents about having my phone on hand.
So I did what any adult does, and I went to my room and sulked.
I don’t know when I became an adult.
Oh sure, there’s the legal adulthood, of drinking and voting, but those are two things no one really wants to do so they make an age where at least one of them is compulsory.
On the other hand, there are all the subtle nuances that are expected of adults. When it’s unacceptable to dress however you feel is probably the first sign I noticed. When I actually started trying with make up and “my sense of style”. But also just the way you speak to people changes. You make an email signature that says “regards”, and your email isn’t “christianawesomeness” it’s “patty.ayres”. Or you start having conversations with people who casually swear and it’s no longer a big thing. Plus, you have no one to dob to. I don’t know when I thought I was wise enough to make an official call to the council, and I don’t know when it became a big deal I don’t answer phone calls, and I don’t know when it became so that I have to take responsibility for when I do something wrong, although I guess you always have to face the consequences for inconveniencing someone else. And I don’t know what happened to that darn dog.
Trying to find a job has been a big eye opener for me. Figuring out the split in my wardrobe between “smart casual” and “every day” is the most boring thing I have ever done- I now own a plain navy blue shirt just because I realised that nothing I have was boring enough for a job interview. My last job fell into my lap because of a family friend. This new one matters.
No one ever really said, you’ve got to grow up now. The worst part is, people always used to tell me I’m mature for my age. Now I’m worried I just had a head start and everyone’s catching up, or even passing me by.
You know the last time I had my phone off silent? It went off during that job interview, the one with the navy blue shirt.
Adulthood is a series of not winning, no “participation awards” and high expectations. It’s everybody watching you and fewer people watching out for you. It’s scary and big and as simple as not picking up your phone so you lose a dog and a man yells at you while you’re in your pyjamas. I’m sure there are some perks to it. I’m just too young to have found them.
Maybe adulting is just sleeping through your alarm but still making it to class.
Maybe it’s as simple as staying up too late but discovering concealer.