I think 20 is that age that really makes you realise you’re an adult. 18, sure, you’re legal, you can go out, clubbing, drinking… in the UK anyway. But at 18, you’re still excused for, like “oh, she’s only 18, she doesn’t know any better!” whereas at 20, it’s sort of more frowned upon when you do something that perhaps you should’ve grown out of… or known better. But really, I don’t think we ever know better. We sort of just.. adapt. Pretend, even. We create this perception of adulthood through movies and education. But half the time I’m pretty sure I’m questioning what other people my age are doing, and trying to understand it, let alone actually doing it. And here’s a few things that I still can’t get my head around, that I really assumed I would’ve learned by the time I turned 20…
By the time I was 20, I thought I’d know how to handle money. I grew up spending my pocket money the day I received it, never thinking to save up to get something really cool, often spending it on sweets. Now, as I receive each monthly pay cheque, I seem to somehow forget about the rent that’s due two weeks after, and accidentally my wardrobe gets more and more crowded.
I thought I’d know how to make friends. I was never great at meeting new people, I was never completely shy, but I was just a little socially awkward. I assumed I’d get over that 10 years later. But nope. Here I am, alone at my computer.
I thought I’d know how to pay bills. I live on my own now, with my partner, but I STILL do not understand bills. Or rent. Or invoices. Or anything like that. And I blame it on my education. Like WHY did they think it was relevant to drill the Pythagoras theorem into our heads, but avoid teaching us HOW TO ACTUALLY RENT A PLACE?!
By the time I was 20 I thought I’d have it all figured out. I thought I’d know what I want to do. But nope, here I am, sitting with my two cats wondering where I want to be in another 10 years time.
I thought I’d know how to be confident. How to stop myself picking out flaws and actually accept myself. But it’s harder than you think to do that. I still look in the mirror daily and frown at certain things that I’m just too lazy to change about myself.
I thought I’d be a little more independent. That I’d be able to stand on my own two feet with nobody else’s help. I thought frequent calls to my parents for help with money, food and laundry would be pretty much non existent. I mean, sometimes they are. For two days at least.
I thought I’d know better by the time I was 20. That I’d learn to go with my head instead of my heart. But countless wrong decisions that at one point I’ve felt so deeply passionate about have left my crying under my duvet with a tub of ben and Jerrys watching Bridget Jones over and over.
In fact, I thought I’d know MORE. But it’s okay because we have google. I mean where else are you going to go when you want to know how many calories are in the large pizza you just comfort ate to take away your troubles.
I thought I’d know how to cook. I’d never learnt before I moved out, and I just assumed it kind of just came to you when you decided to flee from your parents nest. But apparently not. I swear I’d never eaten so many microwave meals and beans on toast than I did the first few months of living independently.
I thought I’d still know the people I hung out with 24/7 in school. But these people have since become distant strangers. I think that’s the hard part of growing up. The people you felt you knew so well suddenly aren’t there anymore, but you just have to deal with that and move on.
Approaching adulthood isn’t all bad though. You begin to appreciate how much your parents put up with, and kick yourself for ever leaving your room so dirty. You can stay up all night without your mum knocking on your door reminding you you’ve got an early start in the morning. And if you don’t feel like doing the dishes, that’s no pressure. There’s also the pros of having an ID. I love being asked for ID when buying a bottle of wine (that’s something I never thought I’d drink too!) – with the shopkeeper looking me up and down, trying to determine whether I’m over 18 – only for me to hold my awful mug shot licence up against my smug little face. It’s the little things.