In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
In the halcyon days of woollen dungarees, booster seats, and being blissfully unaware of how chicken nuggets are made, there are a few things that it never occurs to you will one day be your problem. But, your problem they most certainly do become. What are we going to have for dinner? usually being chief among them.
Regrettably these also tend to be things that your life and education thus far have not remotely trained you for. It’s all very well learning about quadratic equations, the water cycle, and how to lie about your weekend activities in French, but does that actually help you when your boiler has broken down first thing in the morning in the middle of winter? Does it bollocks.
There are many bizarre things that you realise you now have to deal with once you are, chronologically speaking, an adult, but these are arguably the biggest kickers.
1. Is it really necessary to buy separate, special washing powder just for your knitwear? Possibly not, but you reach a point in life where you’re just not prepared to take that risk.
2. Being in charge of your own bedtime. Actually, that’s not true. It very much occurs to you that you will one day be in charge of your own bedtime. Sadly, it often transpires that this is not a responsibility you are adequately equipped to handle.
3. Remembering which day of the week different coloured bins get collected. Nothing in your childhood can prepare you for the irritation and self-loathing that comes with returning home to discover that your bin is the only green one in a street full of blue.
4. This item of clothing says “Do No Tumble Dry” on the label but it will probably be ok if I do in fact tumble dry it, right? No. No it will not. Tumble drying it is a tremendously bad idea.
5. Discovering that you’ve started reading the laundry instructions on clothes labels and realising that you may now be qualified, officially, as a responsible adult.
6. You know when someone asked your nursery school class what everyone wanted to be when they grew up? Yeah, turns out it’s actually quite difficult to become an astronaut, a secret agent or a zebra. Especially if you did an arts degree. Alternative career paths will likely have to be considered now.
7. Discovering that you’ve read the laundry instructions on your clothes labels and put them all in the tumble drier anyway because you couldn’t be bothered to get out the drying rack. And realising that you are almost certainly not a responsible adult.
8. You can’t just do food shopping once. You have to keep doing it. Like, all the time. In fact, the monotony of food shopping may become so ingrained in your psyche that impulse-buying Actimel instead of normal yoghurt gives you an exciting frisson of adventure.
9. What do you do when you break something and your dad isn’t there to mend it? Although, admittedly, the answer to this one is invariably either “switch it off and switch it on again”, or “duct tape”.
10. Finally, and this is the big one – going to things on your own. Barring your first day of school, as a kid you rarely have to go to anything on your own. There’s usually a sibling/dedicated parent/imaginary friend to keep you company. But as a grown up you often find yourself going terrifyingly solo on lots of endeavours. And, sadly, clinging on to your mum’s leg and crying is no longer really an option. So now life often involves being the new person walking into a room full of people who already know each other and are already quite adept at whatever it is they’re doing.
Let’s not beat about the bush here, that’s always going to be intimidating and leave you feeling slightly queasy, wondering why you thought this would be a good idea. And it’s perfectly ok to feel that, and to find that difficult – we all do. But never be afraid to feel awkward and uncomfortable. Because when you feel that way at least it shows that you’re trying, that you care, that you’re making an effort to go out and do things and make connections with people. Feeling awkward isn’t pleasant but it’s alright, it won’t kill you, it won’t last forever, and it will only ever get easer. Being afraid to feel uncomfortable or silly or like the weird new person will only ever hold you back. And the only way to not be the weird new person anymore is to keep walking into the room.