As a child, you imagine your eighteen year old self with great anticipation. You’re attractive, self-assured. You drive cars and drink alcohol and use a credit card. You’re completely independent. You’re not scared of the dark. Your sense of direction borders on the supernatural. You just know things – like how to braid your own hair and how to operate a washing machine. You know exactly where you want your life to go and you’re on your way there. Of course, the reality is something different. So my question is, if you don’t get magically transformed into an adult at eighteen, when do you really grow up?
Sometimes I thank my lucky stars that I’ve embarked on a very lengthy university degree. I look at friends who are about to enter the work force and I’m glad that I don’t have to think about the real world . . . at least not right now. You spend all these years thinking I’ll deal with this when I”m older, when I’m wiser, when I’m more experienced. Suddenly, you’re staring down the barrel of adult life and you’re not ready. You’ve never learnt to fend for yourself. Good lord! The mature, sophisticated, goddess is MIA.
Life never quite meets your expectations I guess.
In particular, student life does not really prepare you for adulthood. Most people live at home. I know people whose mothers still act as their de facto alarm clock. It’s hard to be an independent woman when your mama packs you lunch in a brown paper bag. This predicament, coupled with the extremely sheltered upbringing that comes from living in my part of Sydney produces a teen life-style that extends well beyond adolescence. It’s a lovely childhood but perhaps less useful when you’re expected to file your own tax returns.
I’ve had a long hard thing about this being an adult thing and I have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that it’s all a sham. There’s no magic age. You never roll out of bed, perfectly coiffed with the wisdom of the ages and a limitless vocabulary. You come to the end of your studies, real life whacks you over the head and you topple into the deep end. Unfortunately, you have to learn to French braid on the job.