My first part-time, post-university job was offered to me around three months after I graduated. I’d expected to feel accomplished and happy – I knew ‘getting a job’ was next on my list – but instead I said thanks, hung up the phone and promptly burst into tears.
“What’s wrong?” my boyfriend asked. In between sniffs, I bleated: “… but I’m too small for a job.”
What I meant was: “I AM A CHILD! I STILL EAT PASTA SIX TIMES A WEEK BECAUSE MY COOKERY SKILLS ARE SO SUB-PAR! I CRIED THE OTHER DAY BECAUSE I KILLED A SPIDER AND I SWEAR IT LOOKED SAD RIGHT BEFORE I SQUISHED IT!” Basically: I am not ready for this. I can’t cope with the thought of never having another six-week holiday. I am not grown up.
I wanted the person who’d called me about the job to ring back and say “Oh! Actually, we made a mistake. We meant the OTHER Sophie. You can stay at home ordering pizza and updating your Tumblr and forgetting to empty the bin a little bit longer.” But they didn’t.
I worried that this was the start of me changing into an everyday adult, one who didn’t have time to lurk on the internet anymore. One who had less inclination to find new music and just said “I like a bit of everything, really.” One who would not have been allowed to leave for Neverland with Peter Pan. I was afraid I’d spent my last night in the nursery, and the thought made me sad.
Back then it was borderline – now I am an official grown-up. Despite looking like I should be revising for my SATs, I am a 26 year-old, car-owning, house-renting ADULT. I occasionally weed my front garden at the weekend and I have finally admitted to people that I enjoy Strictly Come Dancing non-ironically. I FEEL OLD.
But is being a grown-up really so bad? Is our world all bills and rent and doom and gloom? Were my post-job-offer tears really worth their salt, LITERALLY? I’m gonna have to go with “no”. If you’re on the cusp of adulthood, LET ME TELL YOU A THING OR TWO about why it ain’t so bad…
You get to celebrate festivities when YOU want to celebrate festivities
My mum is an absolute gem, but she’s an absolute gem who hates Halloween (“I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND IT, SOPHIE”) and refuses to celebrate Christmas before around December 21st. When I was a child, I would beg her to let me put the Christmas tree up early and I’d always be told I was wishing my life away or blindly following our transatlantic friends, THE AMERICANS.
Now I rent somewhere, I can put my tree up in MAY if I want to. I don’t, but I like to know that the option is there. On Friday night, I asked my boyfriend if I could decorate our living room for Halloween and he said “Sure.” SURE! So I did. There are now pumpkin-themed objects everywhere and I have the music from The Nightmare Before Christmas stuck in my head on a loop.
You get to eat what you want
I’m not suggesting you go all Kevin McAllister and eat only marshmallows and ice cream, but I mean… if you wanted to, you totally could. Living sans-parents means BREAKIN’ THE RULES.
No longer will you be ostracised for ordering a Domino’s when there are Asda pizzas in the freezer. If you wake up on a Saturday morning and you fancy eating a Toblerone for breakfast, there’s no-one to tut at you, mid-muesli-chew. Don’t want dinner this evening? NOBODY CARES. Welcome to a whole new lease of life.
You actually have money
This fluctuates from person to person, obviously, and also from month to month, but as a general rule you’re gonna have more $$$ now than you ever did when you were relying on pocket money and visits from the tooth fairy. Want to go on holiday? Start horse-riding lessons? Buy enough Kylie Jenner Lip Kits to last you until 2043? It’s Way More Possible now you’re an adult.
Plus, there is something really satisfying about buying something for yourself and knowing YOU BOUGHT IT COS YOU DEPEND ON YOU (paraphrasing early ’00s Destiny’s Child there but you catch my drift). When you’re younger, you’re always having to defend your wishlist because you can’t pay for 98% of what’s on it – when you’re an adult, you can buy a doorstop shaped like a unicorn JUST BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS CUTE and no-one can say anything.
You get better at planning your time
When I was 18, it took me about three hours to get up, showered, dressed and out the door. I don’t know why. I didn’t do anything differently to what I do now – my hair and make-up have changed minimally and I still don’t brush my teeth for long enough – but procrastination seemed to worm its way in and everything took aaaaages.
Now, I am a speed demon, largely because I have to be. You know how I keep saying that adulthood is gr8 because nobody cares? When it comes to work, it’s the opposite. People do care, so you can’t get complacent. I used to rock up late to university all the time. Delayed bus to college? Might as well go home. NOT SO when it comes to work – as a result, I am now prompt AF.
I try to be organised AF, too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I have to cram a lot more into my day than I used to. It used to take me four hours to decide which Netflix movie to watch and an hour to eat a snack (it didn’t really but you know what I mean). Now I am PREPARED. I carry a diary. I send myself email reminders. I no longer forget that I have to pick up my prescription from the chemist or buy a birthday card for my great aunt, and I have adulthood to thank for that.
You get to decorate your flat/house how you want
Even if you’re renting like me and haven’t bought somewhere, that doesn’t mean your options are limited. Whack some framed posters on the wall! Place those Kylie Lip Kits in a row along the bookshelf! Dedicate a room to your Disney plush collection! Buy GBBO-themed homeware and put bunting along the kitchen walls!
This isn’t like your pre-adult days, where you were confined to one ‘you’ room and the rest of the house had to adhere to your dad’s penchant for grey or your mum’s love of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This is your place now. So GO TO TOWN.
Got any of your own suggestions on the perks of being a grown-up? Let me know