It seems we spend our teenage years trying and failing miserably at being ‘grown up’. Think about how many times your mum or dad asked, “Do you need help with that?” And your terse response always included an unnecessary reference to your age, “I can do it myself. I’m seventeen now, not a child.” As though your parents might have the audacity to forget
how many long, sleepless years have dragged by since you made your slimy, screaming entrance into the world. I know that some people are forced to grow up too quickly, but for the vast majority of us in the Western world, seventeen is cushy, carefree and very, very childish. At seventeen, my only responsibility was doing A-Level homework. I spent the rest of my time on MSN Messenger, honing my sarcasm skills, chasing unsuitable boys and running away from suitable ones (I’m sure poor Bob is still mentally scarred following my brutal rebuffal) and giving George Best a run for his money in the blood alcohol stakes. Ten years on, MSN Messenger is pushing up the daisies, I’ve put in over ten thousand hours of sarcasm, know I will never have the boy/man thing wholly sussed and am acutely aware that like Doctor Who, my liver has a limited number of regenerations. Somewhere in between, I accidentally became an adult. Here are the signs it may have happened to you, too.
1. When someone suggests going out for a drink, you fix them with a mournful stare and say, “but there is beer and wine in the fridge” with less energy than an exceptionally lethargic sloth.
2. You once mocked your parents for needing a coffee and cake break in the middle of an outing and now you are physically unable to resist the smell of freshly ground coffee beans and baked goods whenever a café crosses your path.
3. You couldn’t care less what other people think about you and have no idea why you ever did.
4. The number of remaining inhibitions you have can be counted on one hand. It is nigh on impossible to embarrass you.
5. The thought of browsing markets of any kind – Farmers’ markets, craft markets, night noodle markets, Christmas markets – almost makes you salivate more than the thought of pizza. Wait, are there pizza markets? Brb, googling… EDIT: Bloody hell, there are! And in two of my favourite cities on earth, San Francisco and Barcelona. SO. MUCH. WIN.
6. You don’t always look in the mirror before you leave the house.
7. Spending any longer than two hours in front of the telly feels like a waste of a day.
8. You gag at the very thought of alcopops – why would anyone pollute their insides with a Bacardi Breezer or Smirnoff Ice when there is gin, tonic and a fresh wedge of lime in the world?
9. When you are invited to a friend’s place for dinner, you bring a gift. Typically something in the realm of alcohol or chocolate.
10. Eating pick’n’mix gives you stomach ache, tooth ache and a headache. And the sugar come-down feels worse than a hangover. How do kids eat that shit???
11. You no longer believe the answer to the question, “what kind of music are you into?” is a window to a person’s soul. Or a reason not to be friends with them.
12. You spend more time laughing than you do scowling.
13. You voluntarily keep your parents informed of your whereabouts.
14. You are friends with one or more of your exes, in real life and/or on Facebook.
15. If you’re ill, exhausted or just having a bad day, you still force yourself out of bed and get on with life. Bills don’t pay themselves.
16. You are continually attempting to quit caffeine. No matter how many times you try, it gets to 2pm and you’re so jittery you wish someone would slap you and are forced to give in to the caffeine-y goodness.
17. When the next-door neighbours have the cheek to throw a party/make a lot of noise and your only thought is, ‘will you keep the bloody noise down?!’
18. You actually make a shopping list before you hit the supermarket, with sensible things on it that will last through the week instead of just chucking crisps, ice cream and Cadbury’s in your trolley and making a mad dash for the checkout before Dale Winton collars you and forces you to buy a giant bag of lettuce (Supermarket Sweep: Nightmare Edition, anyone?)
19. Whipped cream suddenly becomes abhorrent. Why would anyone put what is essentially sugared, dairy-infused air on top of something already dairy and sugar laden such as ice cream, a latte or cheesecake? You order everything, “without the cream on top, thank you” and fix any barista or wait staff with your best Look of Death should they forget and Whipped Evil appears on your drink/plate/face. The obvious exception to this is profiteroles. I am totally cool with my own hypocrisy in this matter.
20. You freely admit to yourself and everyone around you that you have no clue what you’re doing.
Join in! I would love to read your additions to this list in the comments.