When I was a kid, I thought being an adult would be brilliant.
All the shit I wasn’t allowed to do by Ma and Pa would be how I lived my everyday life.
Oh, drinking orange juice straight from the carton is gross? I’m the only one drinking from the carton, so screw you, the germs are all MINE.
Oh, I have to eat my vegetables? Not in my house!
Oh, I have to go to bed at a reasonable time, so I can get up for school tomorrow? But there’s fifteen more chapters of this book until I finish!!! I’ll be done by 3am! Four hours of sleep is plenty!
Oh, I have to put on make-up EVERY DAY? Why would I subscribe to your archaic, oppressive beauty regime when my skin is so peachy and plump?
Oh, the sun’s shining, but there’s a Harry Potter movie marathon on TV today? Please close the curtains to keep the sun from shining on the TV screen. And no, I will NOT surrender the remote control.
Oh, Nutella is only for the weekends? Nutella is for all the times. ALL OF THEM.
Except, and don’t you dare bloody tell them this, Ma and Pa may have had a point.
Drinking orange juice from the carton is fine, until the day you tip it up and the juice trickles out the side and all over your last clean white shirt.
And vegetables? Well, enjoy your three days of constipation before you start worshipping in the fruit and veg aisle at Tesco.
Four hours’ sleep, it turns out, is how much sleep you need to survive when you’re eighteen. And you can keep going for several weeks. But once you turn twenty-five, four hours is about the average length of your afternoon naps. On a bad day, when you’ve got insomnia. And in fact, you will find yourself literally making up household chores so you don’t end up falling into bed, relieved, at 8pm.
Putting on make-up every day? Put it this way, the government has used my face without make-up in one of those “this is why you don’t do meth” type adverts. (I’ve never done meth, btw. Just thought I’d point that out. TURNS OUT, that without a thin veneer of cement, I mean, make-up, I look like a reconstituted corpse. Not reanimated. Reconstituted.)
It also turns out that the older you get, the more likely you are to gravitate towards the sun, using any excuse, peeling off your winter tights, and blinding everyone with your hideous white legs. This I have put down to the fact that I am now aging, and obviously am programmed to drift towards the light, any light, so that my inevitable death doesn’t come as too much of a shock. And the Harry Potter movies are on Netflix anyway, so I can just watch them on a rainy day. Because I live alone, and there’s no-one else to fight over the remote control with.
In fact, the only small rebellion that exists still is my ownership of Nutella, which is no longer restricted to a weekend food. This brings with it its own powerful life lesson though: this week, I ran out of Nutella, and it turns out that the proper adult way to deal with this tragedy is to lie on the floor and cry like a three-year-old.
A real adult would have prepared to avoid this scenario by buying a new jar the last time they went to the shops. But this would require life skills such as “forward planning” and “not binge-eating Nutella from the jar with a spoon after a bad day”. And I skipped school when they were teaching those lessons. Because I’d only had four hours’ sleep and I’d poured juice down my school shirt, probably.
I think I have survived this far by luck more than judgement. It’s the only explanation.
Picture credit: I saved this picture on my phone from the website http://www.tickld.com. I didn’t write down the creator, so if it’s you, please get in touch and I’ll change this weird statement to your actual name. Thanks!