Growing up is the worst. It is quite ironic how going back to the horror of the “what's-happening-to-my-body” phase actually sounds quite appealing once you are well past it. Alas, there is no going back.
As you grow up, there are some moments which mark new milestones. Little moments that make you step back for a moment and feel like quite the adult. They appear at different stages for different people, so don't hold your breath for that one annoying dunce in your class to mature and learn their lesson. He or she will probably evolve into an equally annoying older human being. If you aren't one of those asinine people however, then you will go through, or are already going through some of these adult experiences.
YOU DIDN'T REALISE IT WAS YOUR BIRTHDAY
Working vigorously on an assignment due tomorrow, you get a sudden text from a friend wishing you a happy birthday. You stop in your tracks for a moment and look at the date on your screen. Your friend has not lost his/her marbles after all. It is indeed your birthday. You quickly type out a thank you message, look at the time, and get back to work. In some recess of your mind you think, maybe I'll treat myself to a little something later today...if I get the time.
YOU BOUGHT A VEGETABLE
You're walking through the supermarket. Your basket is full of all the things your parents didn't ever let you have all at once, from several packets of chocolate bars and cookies, to multiple varieties of frozen fried snacks that you've decided will take you through the week. And then, just when you're about to check out, you hear a voice behind you, arguing with the service people over why a single floret of broccoli costs over 200tk. You look over, and although you aren't earning nearly enough to justify that broccoli, something else catches your eye. A crate of carrots beckons out to you: Buy us. We're good for you. We taste pretty good dipped in Nutella as well. Vitamiiiins! As if in a trance, you neatly place a bundle in your basket and push your way towards check out. Looking down at the receipt, and then at your haul, a weird sense of achievement overcomes you. Your first self-bought vegetable is quite a mark of honour. The fact that you have no clue as to how you will prepare it is an entirely separate dilemma.
WE SHOULD MEET UP SOON
“How about meeting up on Friday?”
“I have an enormous assignment due Saturday. How's Saturday evening for you?”
“I have a mandated 'inter-company spirit booster' work picnic on Saturday. Don't even ask. Are you busy next weekend?”
“My boss has decided to sacrifice a goat next week. I've been tasked with buying said goat. I will probably have to butcher it as well. How's February of 2043 for you?”
The struggle to find that perfect slot of time when your entire group can meet up is very real. Geographical distance doesn't help either. Now that you've grown up, count yourself lucky if most of your school or university friends still live in the same city as you. Then again, we are the generation of video calling after all. That's totally the same as proper human contact. We have no reason to complain at all.
Back when you were thirteen, you probably opened that one email account with the unspeakable address that haunts you till this day. Regardless of how cool you felt with your firstname.lastname@example.org address, you probably did not end up using it much at all. Now however, after having buried that monstrosity of an email address in the deepest parts of your psyche, and establishing an absolutely respectable email@example.com address, you find yourself having to check your mail every day, if not every hour. There's countless work emails, job application emails, absence notices, invitations, and general emails that you have to send and reply to every day. Most of these are inevitably pointless. No one reads them, but written they must be. When you find the number of emails you have to send are rising, you can be sure you're growing up. Moreover, if you're in charge of handling a company email address and can't stand unanswered emails, good luck having a life.
KIDS THESE DAYS...
Separating yourself from the tide-pod eating dunderheads is something you're entirely comfortable with. You often find yourself using phrases such as “Kids these days” or “When I was younger”. You believe you're up-to date with virtually everything that goes on online, but then you come across some ridiculous challenge, or some obscure term, which once you have looked it up, makes you want to bleach your brain. In that moment you gladly disassociate yourself from the “kids these days”.
Growing up is a part of life whence you have no escape. However, you can now buy an entire cake for no special occasion and hog it yourself, sans restrictions. And that, quite frankly, makes it all worth it.
Rabita Saleh is a perfectionist/workaholic. Email feedback to this generally boring person at firstname.lastname@example.org