Myths about Adulthood.


I remember when I was 20 years old, and my cousin of about 5 at the time said to me, “You’re 20 years old? So you’ll be having a baby soon?” Because that’s the logic of a 5 year old – 20 simply seems like an age where you start popping out kids. 20 is the age of an adult.

Except it’s not. Or it wasn’t in my case at least. I was just one year older and none the wiser, and realised how much more glamourous and grown up it sounded when I was younger. In reality, I was just another wannabe adult, dragging around the baggage from my teenage years and quite comfortably so.

I work with young children. To them, their 25 year old teacher is someone with an entirely different life to their own, someone who is closer in age to their parents and therefore a full grown human being. It’s not so much the very young ones that I’m thinking of as I write this, but more those in their mid-teens. I had a 15 year old girl ask me when I graduated school, and what I have been doing since then, and she looked at me, sighed, and said, “Wow, that is so awesome.” Her expression of what vaguely resembled admiration wasn’t because she thought I had achieved anything special since then and now; I’m convinced that it was simply her, sensing this “adult” future for herself in tangible sight, and also feeling that it was a long way off yet.

The thing is, I think back to when I was 15, and what I thought my life would look like in 10 years time, and I am absolutely sure that my 15 year old self would be disappointed. I had such self-assurance back then, believed strongly in a seemingly straight line towards the bright future that was waiting for me, and I never wavered.

In short, things have not at all gone according to plan, if I can call it that. But thankfully, I am so glad that they haven’t. I’m married, which I didn’t expect myself to be until at least my late 20s. I didn’t exactly go in the career direction I had so determinedly set out to achieve in my teenage years. But while my current professional life is not what I would consider my “end game” situation, it’s also one that I enjoy working for and fullfils me to a certain extent. And of course, I count myself very lucky that E and I are able to face these early adulthood challenges together.

Those are my rambly thoughts about being in my mid-twenties, in a nutshell. And for accountability’s sake, here are a few more things that I thought would happen when I grew up, but shockingly have not:

1. Have a clean and tidy home, all the time. 
You know in movies, when a character gets an unexpected visitor and they are welcomed in without so much as a “Sure, count to 30 before you come in so I can shove all the mess in my wardrobe.”? I don’t get it. I thought that when I was a responsible adult, my untidy days will be long gone and my home would be ready for guests come rain or shine. What was I thinking, that a Mary Poppins fairy comes through the post as a reward for getting old?

2. Go to a quiet, sophisticated bar by myself and nurse a martini in a casual-chic dress. 
I promise I’ve had an excellent education. I’m not exactly proving that point very well, but this image of a confident woman sitting for a quiet drink after work to collect her thoughts, this was what summed up adulthood for a long time for me. The reality? I come home, get changed into PJs in the blink of an eye, and on occasion have a glass of wine in a water glass (because I’m too short to reach the cupboard with the wine glasses and getting a chair to stand on is way too much work).

3. Have Sunday mornings where we listen to smooth jazz, cook up a delicious brunch, sip tea and read the newspaper. Maybe even the Financial Times. Wearing a silky dressing gown. 
Not so much. On the mornings that I am actually up for the challenge to make this a reality, I get very excited and then realise that I am missing core ingredients to make anything brunch-like. So I throw in the towel, have my usual breakfast and go out for lunch. As for the newspaper, E is addicted to the news so I hear about the world’s current affairs through him. After he updates me, I make him watch some silly video on Youtube. Wearing an old t shirt with PJ bottoms.

4. Be a laundry superwoman.
It’s like my brain just refuses to learn. It’s too late to do laundry when you’ve already run out of things to wear. How is that difficult to remember? In our household the chores are fairly evenly shared, except for emptying bins and laundry. E does the bins, I do the laundry. You can guess the delight on E’s face when he’s running around after his shower realising that all his potential attire is crumpled up in the laundry basket. He is very patient with me, lovely as he is, but he is probably close to signing me up for LL meetings (Learning Laundry).

There are many more where those came from, but I’m hoping that I’m not alone.

Please share your own surprising discoveries from your adventures in adulthood.

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  • Reply jennie

    I think I fail at being a real grown-up in all respects. I thought I would spend my days immersed in my high-flying career, my evenings in glamourous restaurants and my weekends going to brunch with the girls. In reality I spend way too much time in my pyjamas and I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with my life. But I think I like it this way <3 Jennie xo |

    October 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply sleepandwater

    It's so weird – youth is wasted on the young as they say. When I was younger, I always wanted to be older. Now that I'm "grown up", I think back to my teenage years and think … what happened? The last few years seem to have really flown by. I feel very much still juvenile and inexperienced. I don't know if I ever had a solid vision of "my future", so there's not been any shattering gap between reality and expectations. But it's hard to filter out what society is saying I should be doing or the place I should be aiming for. Life is a continual process about finding one's feet/place/passion (if you ever do) – but in your 20s especially.

    October 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply Emma

    It's so true!When I was mid-teens I thought people in their mid twenties were so grown up, glamorous, and had it all figured out. Now I know that cannot be farther from the truth.I'm happy with the job I do, but not as far on as I want to be/thought I'd be. I like going to bed early and getting a good night's sleep.Even if you said to me at the end of uni that I wouldn't be going out anywhere near half as much I'd have laughed at you.Half the time I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm starting to come around to the thought that actually that's not such a bad thing.Hmm maybe…

    October 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm
  • Reply Laura

    I'm 25 too, and when I was a teenager I always thought living in London would be a real life version of Sex in the City. In reality it's a lot like living at home, only I have to do all the cooking and cleaning myself!

    October 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm
  • Reply Anna

    This is so true. I am really bad at adulthood. I still feel scared of being "told off" by people older than me. For instance, our neighbours complained in a rude way about our puppy barking when we first got her and I felt no different to a 5 year old being admonished by their teacher or a friend's parents. I felt like because I was younger than she was, I had to just take it. I also don't really know anything detailed about taxation, home loans, interest rates etc. I also haven't become "serious" yet and still find silly things funny. My fiance and I agree our life together feels like a sleepover that never ends.

    October 5, 2013 at 6:28 am
  • Reply Valerie

    I can definitely relate to what you're saying! In my mind, I actually stopped growing at like 23 and I still cannot believe I'm 26. I don't see myself as an adult at all. Maybe it will come with the next decade?When I was a kid, I thought I'd be married at 25 and maybe I'd have a baby too because that kind of sounded like the right age for it. I thought I'd be all grown up and completely ready for it but it couldn't be further from the truth. I still have many years to wait until I'm psychologically ready for all of that.It's funny also how I've completely changed career direction and even country. I had never though of the UK as a potential home but somehow ended up there as an exchange student and never left. I thought I'd become a psychiatrist and I've turned Online Marketing Co-ordinator. My 15 year old self would be so surprised of what I've become but I guess it's not necessarily a bad thing. If I hadn't made the choices I've made, I wouldn't have never met my boyfriend (celebrated 4 years of love yesterday!), started a blog that I love writing or fount out how much I love social media and helping people setting up and maintaining their presence online. Cheers to the twenty-something young women that we are! Our lives are not what we expected, it's not perfect but we're happy and in the process of figuring this whole adulthood thing out and that's what matters 🙂 xx

    October 5, 2013 at 9:33 am
  • Reply miho

    i have a feeling that years on from now, we will miss this stage of our lives. messy, vague, a bit lost – it's all part of the ride i think! x

    October 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm
  • Reply miho

    youth is wasted on the young – no truer words. x

    October 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm
  • Reply miho

    oh definitely. and my friends and i are always laughing at ourselves about how grannyish we are with our inabilities to stay up too late/drink too much! x

    October 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm
  • Reply miho

    haha too true! hollywood is fully to blame for our delusions. x

    October 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply miho

    a sleepover that never ends? that's the best kind! and i definitely know what you mean about feeling intimidated, often i forget that i'm in an authoritative position and cower down when i should be the boss! x

    October 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply miho

    your story is so interesting, and ultimately that is what makes life interesting! these unexpected twists and turns are what keeps us on our toes i think. and happy anniversary, hope you celebrated lots 🙂 x

    October 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply Marla Rogers

    This is beautiful. I'm 23 and my life is so far from what I was expecting when I was 16. I don't feel like an adult but I guess I am haha. I'm still looking for my first "big girl" job, and still saving money for my own place…sheesh. Being an adult TOTALLY seemed more glamourous when I was little…and now I just wish I was 6 again.

    October 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm
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