It’s like entering a store that you had always believed sold cookies and candy, only to discover that in actual fact, Bitter Kola is sold there! I don’t know about you, but I struggle with adulthood everyday. This is somewhat paradoxical because I pride myself as one who is quite independent. It’s amazing that as a child, all I wanted to do was grow up as fast as possible, and be able to do all the things (…well not exactly all) that adults do. As a kid, I saw my parents take money out of their pocket/purse at will (or so I thought), and automatically assumed that money was a natural accompaniment to adulthood. At times I felt my parents were only being stingy when they talked about how hard money was to come by, and gave me less than what I requested for. I remember voicing those thoughts on a couple of occasions. I didn’t get spanked for it, but I vividly recall that their response was, “O fee kan e na” which literally means “It would soon be your turn,” Needless to say, now that it is my turn, like they said, I know better.
Adulthood is a lonely path. Essentially, it is assumed that when you hit a certain age, you should be able to take care of yourself. Now, as much as that was the dream while growing up, it is also the biggest conundrum for an adult. Decision making. Those two words are perhaps the greatest challenge for any adult. As a child, one never had to worry about taking decisions. Mum and Dad were saddled with that responsibility. All we knew was that food had to be on the table, we got to wear nice clothes and had a comfortable bed to lay on. There was never a time we got sent home from school because our fees had not been paid. I knew my parents worked to bring in money, but it all seemed so easy then. Always having a car to drop me and siblings off at school, never dropping below the standard of living in a comfortable flat, being able to eat whatever we wanted most of the time were things I certainly took for granted. I had no inkling of all the “sweat and blood” they had to put in to make all that happen. Now I know better.
Some would argue that the biggest threat to the sanity and overall well being of an adult are bills. Oh, those bills! Whether they come in form of house rent/mortgage, electricity bills, DSTV subscription, mobile phone credit, internet subscription, school fees or even food stuff and laundry…bills are the devil. They are the recurrent expenditure that are designed to ensure you have plenty of hair-pulling moments before kicking the bucket. Naive me, while growing up vowed that I would always stock the house with plenty of chocolates and ice-cream when I was old enough to start working. That was what my six or seven year old mind placed value on then. Now, if I even remember to give myself a treat once a month, then it must have been a less stressful month. I wonder what happened to all the fantasies and dreams of the completely blissful grown up life I dreamed of. Oh, I know what happened…reality. Reality happened.
Managing finances, relationships, career, family are some of the stark realities that accompanies the overrated adulthood. Many of us were not ready. It was almost as though we were thrust into it, even though it was all we dreamed of as children. That longing for unfettered freedom. A life devoid of parental curfews. The thrill of being able to go and come as one pleases and make decisions without necessarily having to explain oneself. They were the factors that made adulthood so appealing then. It never occurred to us that the dirty laundry that “magically transformed” into clean ones when we were kids would remain as they are if we don’t consciously to do something about them now. Trust Multichoice to cut you off if you as much as dare to delay payment for subscription for the next ten minutes after it expires. The Landlord whom you had a cordial relationship with when the going was good, would not bat an eyelid in throwing you out when you default for too long in paying his rent. Even seemingly loving boy-girl relationships turn sour when finance becomes an issue. And someone wants to convince me that this adult business isn’t a scam?
I miss those days when I didn’t have to second guess anyone’s friendship with me. I long for the days when I didn’t have to worry about endless bills, and taking potentially life altering decisions. I am nostalgic about the times when I didn’t have to wake up at 5am to ensure that I leave home by 6am; knowing that a ten minute delay would mean facing some horrendous traffic jam that could ruin the rest of my day. I am wary of deadlines, meetings, targets, goals, chasing success and all those other things a responsible adult is supposed to pursue. I’ll be sure to tell my children and any other child out there whom I am privileged to mentor not to be in a hurry to grow up.
From the never ending bills to the lost magic of birthdays and Christmas. From the unannounced grey or balding hair to the complicated relationships. Whether it is the search for purpose or those moments of crippling self-doubt, this adult business is the greatest fraud ever.