23 is a funny age.
I’ve emerged from the student bubble relatively unscathed, but I’m not quite used to life post-uni yet. (Not having a set routine or a set place to live probably have something to do with that.)
I’m no longer in mourning for my university days, although I do miss my third-year housemates a lot, but the idea of being an adult — a functioning one — has me in two minds.
On the one hand, I can’t deny that growing up, having some stability, and being taken more seriously aren’t appealing.
On the other hand, I still feel like teenage Beth a lot of the time — really bloody scared of life and all it entails, and utterly bewildered by how quickly the years seem to be passing.
So in order to make myself feel better about all of this, I started writing. And what I ended up with was a list of silly but also kind-of-scary things that make me feel like I might just be a grown-up.
(And I also reminded myself of something my mum says frequently, which is that no one ever fully feels like a grown-up because everyone is winging it. Puts it all into perspective.)
1. I seem to have developed a permanent food baby.
2. When I was in A&E, the triage nurse referred to me as ‘a woman of child-bearing age’. Squick.
3. My second cousin Arthur and I were waiting for his dad in the park and there were lots of people around, so he held on to the skirt of my dress to make sure he didn’t lose me. (He is three years old and my heart melted, but I was also terrified.)
4. Arthur doesn’t call me Cousin Beth, he calls me Auntie Beth, because I’m ‘too old to be a cousin’.
5. I’ve just realised that I’m a full twenty years older than Arthur.
6. My bank keep asking me if I want a credit card, because apparently I’m responsible enough to use one correctly.
7. All the kids I see out and about in school uniform look really, really young.
8. Hell, most of the freshers I see look really, really young.
9. I finished university over a year ago.
10. If my friends and I go to Spoons on certain days of the week then we are the oldest people in there.
11. I went over to my friend’s house for Chinese food the other day. My friend who lives in an actual house, with her actual boyfriend, with an actual car parked outside. You know, like a grown-up.
12. I’ve started dismissing some of the clothes in Topshop for being ‘too teenage girl’. (Nothing wrong with being a teenage girl, but I don’t want to look like I’m bunking off sixth form.)
13. If I squint too much I can see extra lines underneath my eyes.
14. I daydream about a time when I’m settled enough to have my own spice rack.
15. One more year and I’ll be in my mid-twenties, and equidistant between the ages of 18 and 30. Fuck.
What makes you feel like you’re growing up too fast? Let me know in the comments!
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin. Always thinking about my next meal.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!