Grown Uprising 

 Something weird is happening to me. I don’t know how or why or when it started, but slowly, progressively, mostly against my will, I’ve started becoming.. dare I say it… an adult

I’ve tried to ignore it, but the signs have been cropping up for awhile now. I recently whipped up a cheese and fruit platter- for myself. That’s right, not for the benefit of a fancy visitor, it was just the snack my old lady brain desired, and I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even Instagram it.

A few weeks ago, I set up a Direct debit for my phone account so now my bills are never overdue- which means my phone is never cut off. This is a revolutionary concept. Over the years the team over at the Vodafone billing department have become like a family to me- I certainly have more conversations with them than I do my real one. The automated ladies voices that informs me, ‘sorry, you have call barring activated’ is as familiar to me as my own mothers. I’m gonna miss those guys.

Last week, I broke a tooth, and instead of ignoring it for several months and allowing it to become a far worse and more expensive problem, I went and got it dealt with a mere two days later. Not only that, but I scheduled it for my weekend, so that I wouldn’t require any additional time off work. How’s that for an ethic?

Ive never had health, life, or home and contents insurance- but in what is probably the most telling hallmark of my incline into adulthood, I’ve been doing extensive research on the matter. I can now conduct entire fascinating conversations with other adults about policies, health funds, and assets, whereas a few years ago, a mere mention of any of those words would make my eyes glaze over as I backed away slowly.  

I think a big part of my resistance towards growing up is because of how terrified I’ve always been of it. Turning 30 used to feel like the most ominous thing ever, and now that I’m here I of course realize that it’s not as lame as I’d though it would be, but I feel like I’m betraying my younger self by not hating it. My instincts tell me to Fight the Power! Forever young and wild and free, right? Raise hell! 

So I’ve tried to deny it. I’ve tried to act like I’m still a wayward youth. But I just don’t have the energy to do the shit I used to find enjoyable. The idea of spending a few hours, let alone an entire evening, in a nightclub, paying $13 for a shitty vodka in a mason jar that instantly gets spilled on you by a hipster dancing ‘ironically’ to a 90s pop dubstep remix, navigating my way through a sea of Kardashian-esque girls with fake boobs and hair and nails and lashes and lips and tan, and guys in their collared-shirts and Vans sameness, the pickup lines, the awkwardness, wanting a ciggy and having to squeeze into a sardine can of cancer with a thousand other banished smokers; I’d rather hang out in actual Hell, I think.

I used to think that living fast and dying young was a romantic and beautiful notion; I yearned to be like Kurt or Amy or Jeff or any of the revered ’27’ club, fellow misfits, people who felt eternally misunderstood, creative savants who lived their life recklessly, like a piece of performance art, crashing and burning gloriously right up until the bitter end. 

Thankfully I outlived 27 and outgrew my desire to die forever young and pretty. I realized that annoying phrase uttered by every adult ever –   “time heals all” is actually true, and now I can annoy the next generation by saying it to them . 

In fact, in the past six months, I’ve not only survived the transition into adulthood, I’ve actually taken steps to live even longer. I’ve quit smoking cigarettes, a habit I’ve held half my life. I stopped taking psychotropic medications and sleeping pills. I’ve started making healthy, home cooked meals at least once a week. I’ve made a conscious effort to drink more water every day. And the funny thing is, I haven’t had to make a huge effort to implement any of these changes, it’s like I just  started paying attention to my body and prioritizing my wellbeing, and once I did that the changes started to occur naturally. I’m practically a health guru at this point, and considering renaming my blog ‘totallywellness’.

So clearly I’m beginning to relax about this whole getting older thing, fancying myself as ‘reluctantly refined’. I told myself I’m aging effortlessly, gracefully, becoming a more well-rounded and capable adult without even really trying. Allowing nature to take its course, if you will. And feeling pretty smug about it, to be honest. After all, I’m doing way better than I ever thought I would be at this age- I’m not dead and I’ve never even been in jail.

And then… I make the mistake of going on Facebook. I scroll through the lives of my peers, dozens of whom have also hit that milestone age this year. A few jobless deadbeats, with children and drug habits they can’t handle, a few with mediocre middle-class existences. But what was surprising to me was that the vast majority of my fellow triple-decade compatriots are actually kind of killing it.

 One has a disgustingly cute year-old baby with the man of her dreams, and they’re this cool little nomadic bohemian family who spend half the year in their chalet (at a snow town called Mount Beauty, for fucks sake)  working at a ski resort, and then reside at their gold coast beach house for the warmer months.

 One is engaged to a model, has two gorgeous and well-behaved kids from a previous marriage, and is a doctor that owns his own radiology clinic and is currently doing pre-production on a feature film for a screenplay he whipped up in his ‘spare time’.

All of a sudden my ‘interest in health insurance’ doesn’t seem so impressive. Maybe I’m not as mature and adulty as I thought?  Im not sure whether to feel jealous or inspired by these examples of higher echelons of successful adulting. 

Oh, well. I’ll ponder it further while I go smoke some weed and eat fancy cheese. Fight the power! 

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Farewell, shitty youth 

It’s a warm night in May, and I’m at home, unsettled, as this is not just any other night, it is in fact the last night of my twenties. Tomorrow I will be flung across the precipice into the long-dreaded decade of ‘proper adulthood’. Thirty is a milestone birthday I’ve never looked forward to, I think mostly because I’ve never wanted to be a real grownup, and by that I mean what society has led me to believe is a proper grownup. Marriage, kids, mortgages, the stock market; none of these things interest me in the slightest. I just don’t want to do all that stuff. I loathe having to get up and work every day in a pointless job just so I can (barely) afford the luxury of existing; why the fuck would I want to extend that struggle into a smaller, even more incapable version of myself?

 Why would I want to enter the most outrageously unaffordable housing market my country has ever experienced, and sell my soul to the big banks for all of eternity? Why would I want to spend upwards of $10,000 on a single day parading my love and union to someone, in an outdated and patriarchal tradition that bears no spiritual or emotional significance to me whatsoever, just because my fucking family and friends want me to? I’d much rather get high, listen to good music, have meaningful conversations with real people, make art and sleep all day. And now, in the twilight of my youth, I’m starting to realize that it’s ok to want to do those things, it’s ok to reject society’s preconceived notion of how you’re supposed to live your life, and I shouldn’t fucking feel bad about it. 

I’m a good person, and I can say that with conviction. For the past twenty-nine years I have constantly craved approval from those around me, and made it my life’s work to please others. The satisfaction I feel when I’m able to help someone, or at the very least meet their requests, is immense. But that means that if I don’t do things correctly, or piss someone off or give them cause to reprimand me, the shame and guilt I feel is crushing. This compulsive need to please doesn’t just apply to my loved ones; even people whom I don’t particularly like or opinions on anything else I wouldn’t value, have the power to destroy me. Such is the importance I place on others perception of me. But the beauty of getting older is that you become wise to the fact that most people are fuckheads and it doesn’t matter what they think. Deriving self-worth from others is stupid and damaging and I’m grateful that I’ve started figuring that out. Instead I’m turning inwards for approval more and more, and as a result I am living a much happier and honest life. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think I’ve got it all figured out now. It’s just that I’m far enough away from misguided mess that were my teen years to see that I have grown up, I am wiser and more confident and I’m vastly better at life than I was a decade ago. I’m sure when I turn forty I’ll look back on my life now and laugh at how I thought I was even slightly knowledgeable, but for now, I’ll live in the ignorant blissfulness  of thinking I’ve got at least a few things figured out. 

So yes, I’m about to be a thirty year old who smokes weed every day, struggles to pay bills on time and often eats cookies for breakfast. I may not have a kid, a husband or a mortgage, but you know what else I don’t have? A single grey hair, wrinkle or stretch mark. I’m not trapped in a loveless marriage with someone I thought was cool 10years ago but actually turned out to be an annoying douchebag, but who I’m stuck with coz there’s still 30 years worth of mortgage payments to be made and little Johnny’s only just started school. My life doesn’t stop at 8 and 3 every day to do a school run, instead I do, I dunno, take drugs or have sex or whatever the fuck I want. Instead I have a hot boyfriend who actually loves and respects me, a house full of cool shit and two adorable kittens that satisfy my maternal needs without ruling my life. 

 I  may not look or act like a responsible adult all the time but that doesn’t mean I’m not. I’ve earned my status as a grown up because I’ve spent thirty fucking years growing up. I’ve chosen kindness and empathy over money and power, intelligence over prestige, exhiliration over stability, passion over success. My life is sometimes chaotic, often incredibly peaceful, but it’s always my own, and I realize now that I am exactly what I always wanted to be when I grew up- free. 

Anxiety, The Worst of Me

 Living with a mental illness and various panic disorders is, to me, kind of like walking around with a heavy and noisy speaker on your shoulder. Blaring your personal, and often embarrassing, playlists for the world to hear, on shuffle, with you desperately trying but unable to find the mute button. You receive a bunch of unwanted attention from eye-rolling strangers, the song and tempo is often wildly inappropriate for the situation, and people don’t understand why you can’t just silence the damn thing. Continue reading “Anxiety, The Worst of Me”

How to be an Emotional Wreck and Suck at Everything

 I’ve been blundering my way through this ‘life’ thing for nearly thirty years now, and I still haven’t quite figured out how to be good at it. I have, however, acquired a particular set of skills; namely, in fucking up and being a total failure. So for those of you out there who have successfully transitioned into adulthood,  are perhaps bored with your smooth sailing, easy-breezy lifestyle over in Made It-ville, here’s some tips on how to foray over  to the wrong side of the tracks and take up residence in FuckUp Town, all in just 10 easy steps! So put down your kale and chia juice or whatever it is that real grown-ups do these days, and prepare to be un-enlightened. You’re welcome.   Continue reading “How to be an Emotional Wreck and Suck at Everything”

Mary Jane and Me

 

My relationship with weed has lasted longer than any of my partners, and for that matter, most of of my friends. Our shared history is a fractious one, and to this day remains based on a love/hate dynamic. It is the one thing that is always there for me, yet it is the one thing that I allow to control me and hold me back. It’s  kind of like I’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship with my bong for the past 15 years. Continue reading “Mary Jane and Me”