With my 31st birthday fast approaching and demands from barmen to see my ID before they’ll serve me in pubs rapidly drying up, I’ve become a bit
obsessed preoccupied with aging lately.
The physical aging process is one thing. I mean, I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t bother me, but at least I can feel like I can make some contribution to staving it off and am currently doing so with every lotion, potion, and gadget at my disposal. And, squeamish and all as I am, in honesty I couldn’t rule out tweaks with things like Botox and fillers in the future if I get to a point where I’m concerned about issues that my skincare routine can’t tackle.
More worrying, as far as I’m concerned, is the fact that I don’t feel like a grown-up yet. This is odd because, at least on paper, I am A Proper Responsible Mature Adult. I work. I have a mortgage. And a pension. I have a dog (and tried for ages to buy him a dog licence, until I discovered they don’t do them in England anymore.) I make budgets (and stick to them.) I recycle everything that isn’t nailed down. I do a weekly shop. I hate cooking, but can make a pretty decent sauce from scratch if I absolutely have to. I prefer red wine to white. Oh, and I quite like doing garden stuff (but NOT weeding.)
Despite making myself sound really fecking boring and being able to tick off 45 of the “50 Signs You Are A Grown-Up” that appeared in The Telegraph earlier this year, I still feel like I’m waiting for the penny to drop. Inanely, I sort of expected that things would click into place when I was 30 – I guess I just always thought of 30 as being a Very Grown-Up Sort Of Age. Since it didn’t, and I still feel 28 in my head, I’ve now begun to theorise that no-one ever really feels like a grown-up, that my parents and your parents and all the grown-ups we knew as kids didn’t actually feel grown-up themselves, that it’s all a bit of a charade, a sort of fake-it-’til-you-make-it scenario, and maybe they were all feeling their way in the dark too.
Two lines delivered in quick succession in the recent movie Liberal Arts have deepened – I’d nearly say cemented – that suspicion.
“Since I was 19, I’ve never not felt like I was 19” says retiring college professor Peter (Richard Jenkins) to former student Jesse (Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother fame.) Himself and I were still nodding sagely in our seats when he followed up with: “Nobody feels like an adult. That’s the world’s dirty secret.”
“I FECKING KNEW IT!” I hissed across at Himself.
I’m hoping I’m not on my own here, so tell me: do you feel like An Actual Proper Grown-Up? And why?