Life is full of surprises. Some nice, some not so nice. I mean, maybe you are loving being a grown up. Maybe you have finally coincided with yourself, and you are just living the dream. But for 99.99999% of us, isn’t it funny how childhood fantasies have become adult nightmares? Turns out there are a lot of not nice surprises in adult life. Like …
When we were 12 we thought I AM AN ADULT. I demand the right to make all the decisions in my life. It will be amazing. I will be amazing. Er no it won’t and no you won’t. It’s awful. You make 231 decisions before 8am and quite a lot of them turn out bad. You have decision-fatigue. You’d be happy if you never had to make a decision again. And as if that’s not bad enough, you also have to make decisions about other people’s lives too. Every minute of every day. Really the only decision you want to make at this point is to order an Uber, get up off the sofa, go to the airport and never come back. But even then, what should I wear to travel in? Where should I go? How early do I need to get to the airport? Decisions ruin everything.
We used to be able to blame everything on someone else. Mostly your Mother. Or Take That breaking up. But then came the Era of Taking Responsibility and, with it, the Blame Demon, dripping ‘well you only have yourself to blame’ in your ear, ad infinitum. And despite our best efforts to say “Shut up demon, please can I still blame my parents, my siblings, my friend group, my bad boyfriends, I am young, I do not know what I am doing?” BD says “Er – you are not that young, sorry.” Do we have to take responsibility for our part in things? *stamps foot* *throws self on bed* *misses and falls off the bed* *cries*.
One day we will be able to drink alcohol all the time, we thought. Whenever we want. And we will be absolutely fine. We can drink until late. We can drink at lunchtime. We can drink. Drinketty. Drink. Oh. No you can’t. You definitely can’t. Either you end up in a hangover hostage situation for at least two days and you are not released until you have had a transfusion. Or you can never drink again. Like Emilie. Who ruined it for herself.
I can’t wait to be a grown-up so I can finally afford to live the life that I am supposed to be living. I’m meant to be rich and have all the stuff. Wait, what do you mean I am going to work all the time and not be able to afford anything? What are you talking about? This cannot be real. Narrator: It was real.
I shall travel, Oh, how I shall travel. I shall traverse the globe – in some luxury, it must be said. All the sensational holidays you planned to go on? Remember the idea of India. The northern lights. The Trans-Siberian railway. Machu Pichu. The Galapagos. A cruise. Whatever floats your boat. The open road, independence. Luxury even. “Hey bank account come over here, I want to travel”. And now you can barely afford to walk up the stairs…
Stop telling me what I can and can’t watch. Stop telling me what is ‘appropriate’. Ok, so we grew up in the 80s when letting 9-year-olds watch Nightmare on Elm Street was considered broadly fine. But still there were limited screens (one for the whole house) and channels (four in total), and lots of people to argue with about who got to watch what: the annual Bond vs Chitty Chitty Bang battle. And now that we have power over the remote control and can watch anything we want, it turns out that we can no longer watch anything we want. Because the Venn has narrowed to a tiny almost invisible sliver – it can’t be too scary, too sad, too gory, too emotional, too dead womany, too dead childreny, too happy, too romantic, too perky, too drab, too ANYTHING…you are left with….NOTHING. You are left with nothing.