I never really wanted to be a grown-up. Sure, at times I fancied a career as a wildlife vet, or an acrobat or a dream role as everyone’s favourite wild, red-haired and extremely capable paramedic in Casualty, but that was a different kind of adult fantasy in my head. A lifestyle involving fame and fortune or the occasional animal autopsy, as opposed to a lifestyle of being 26, permanently hungry and still struggling to find the money to buy tampons every month.
The other day I mentioned to my youngest brother (who is 21, the bastard) that I was turning 27 in September and he physically gagged. His body reacted so violently against my ageing process that he had to get a drink of water. And it occurred to me that I am getting old. That those tiny wrinkles around my eyes aren’t pillow creases, nope; that council tax is going to be with me for life; that it’s only going to be harder to have regular bowel movements; that I’m so tired on the train right now I just offered a lady a seat for her child and realised she was in fact just holding the handle of a sports direct bag; that I do in fact have my first bunion.
And it got me inspired. If I’m going to suck it up and be an adult for the rest of my life then I’m god damn going to make it as fun and young and reckless as possible because otherwise, hell, it’s more dull than the Kardashians and people who hate the word feminism.
Now I’m not talking about sex, drugs and rock and roll, because I have IBS, I’m already paranoid enough and I have no taste in music. Also I don’t want to go to prison. I’m talking about a happy, spontaneous, care-free life, giving the middle finger to being cool, and living my best toddler existence.
Now, I’m no expert, but an old lady did point at my outfit in the street the other day and said to her friend, “I used to look like that when I was a small child” so I must be doing something right.
So here we go, ready for the weekend, 10 ways to avoid adulthood (without getting into trouble).
1 Getting wet. (Not that kind of wet.) I’m talking not giving a shit about rain and getting soaked and laughing and warming up over hot chocolate. I’m talking about running into the sea in your underwear and not giving a damn if the paparazzi are taking photos. Hell, spill your drink down yourself and buy a bib. Live while you’re young.
2 Straws. God damn – all it takes is a straw and it’s like I’m at an indoor play area drinking my first orange Calipso drink all over again trying to find the confidence to go back in the ball pall with the kid who is definitely over age. Don’t worry – I’m still being a responsible eco-friendly child-woman so these are paper straws, or re-usable, not anything that’s going to clog up a turtle’s oeseophagus.
3 Jelly. Make some jelly. Stick it in the fridge. Slurp it down your gullet. Make as much noise as you can. Invite everyone to the party.
4 Patterns. Find an outfit and fuck it up. I’m talking stripey tights with flowery dresses, dotty wellies with fur coats. It’s basically like being high but with more patchwork and less peril.
5 Sleep. I spend approximately 75% of my working day trying to find an appropriate time to suggest playing sleeping lions with my work colleagues. There’s something about sleep – of any kind – that makes everything okay. Especially when you have excellent pyjamas and two giant toy sharks.
6 Packed lunches. Anything that contains a food item that dips in another food item, that peels easily, that has a joke on the inside of the wrapper, that makes other kids so jealous they’re sick.
7 Tucking a vest into tights underneath your dress. I know it sounds weird, but it makes me feel warm, secure and a bit like I’m in a baby grow.
8 Novelty sunglasses. ‘Nuff said.
9 A freezer full of ice lollies. Ten points to Gryffindor for mini milks.
10 Screaming until you get what you want. We don’t do this enough in our twenties. Slam a door, tug on your testicles, whatever it takes. Don’t stop until you’re famous.
Happy weekend, team. If you do get into trouble, tell me all about it, I love a bedtime story.