I have been thinking a lot about becoming an adult, someone once said (I forget who) “As a child you are taught a lesson to pass a test. As an adult you must pass a test, to learn a lesson.” The trouble I am having though, is that there is no test, in the literal sense of the word, and I wish to God there was one. If there were then at least you could receive some sort of certificate, or some kind of recognition, or at least a piece of paper that said ‘Yes, you are now an adult and have gained all the secret knowledge you need to be able to effectively budget a household, maintain a car and pay taxes’. The problem is, it’s all a trick, and there is no exam, no test, no certificate and certainly no ‘secret knowledge’.
When I was younger, I would look at older people and wonder how they managed to become fully fledged ‘Adults’, the kind of ‘Adults’ who have intricate knowledge of, and can give directions to, ‘randomplace-on-sea’ with confidence, or who can effectively ask for a rebate from the tax man, and actually recieve one. But as I have got older, and had more and more dealings with ‘Adults’, I have concluded that no one has the first f**king idea what they are doing, most of the time. ‘Adults’ for the most part, are bluffing, sure some people have been to ‘randomplace-on-sea’ and so can give directions confidently, others have spent 52 billion hours on hold to HMRC trying to get a rebate and so have received it. But for everybody, whether they are 21 or 61, there was a first time, and I will bet the 0.93 pence in my bank account that the older they were, the more effective they were at looking like they knew what they were doing.
Because growing up and becoming an adult is not a milestone that is easily visible, it’s not something that you can define as a moment in your life, and you will not receive a booklet that contains all the things you assume an adult must know in order to make it in this world. I have known people twice my age make mistakes they would chastise an 18 year old for, and the only explanation is that we are all bumbling through life, gaining years, but very little wisdom. It is essentially the accumulation of f**k-ups, an increased talent in bluffing, and a strong desire to avoid re-runs of the aforementioned f**k-ups.
But, the biggest problem I am facing is that as an ‘Adult’, you not only bluff other people, you bluff yourself. For instance, when I was 16, I had life figured out, life is about having fun, you don’t need a lot of money or a good job, and people who think you do are just ‘slaves to the system, man, God, they don’t know s**t’.
Then when I was 20, I had it all figured out, life is about having a good enough job to pay for beer on the weekend and keeping enough smart-price noodles in your cupboard to make sure you don’t die ‘God, 16 year old me didn’t know s**t’.
Then at 25 I had it all figured out, life is about being a good Dad, making money to provide for your family because nothing else is more important, ‘God, 20 year old me didn’t know s**t’.
Now I am 27, writing about what it’s like to be an ‘Adult’ and what life is all about, and if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that 25 year old me, didn’t know s**t!