Mondays are my favourite day to be desk-warming. Why? Because the weekend’s press have published all their longer articles for the week. My Monday is made of catching up with real world events and sport, then spending a couple of hours browsing the opinion, travel and lifestyle sections of the guardian. I know, stressful life right.
My Monday reads can take me into the back catalogue of opinions as link after link leads down the rabbit hole. I read an interesting article about couples that marry young and then divorce young also, in which one of the interviewee’s stated,
“In your 20s, you think you’re an adult and in control of your life, but you’re basically an idiot. You don’t have the self-knowledge you think you do.”
It got me to thinking about when can we say that we’re no longer basically an idiot?
Growing up the eldest child has led me to always either think, or pretend to think, that I had some idea of what was going on. I was the first to do most things, or to ask for permission to do things. The ground-breaker, first-timer, unsure of how family would react to this increased demand in what I, as no-longer a child, should be allowed to do.
When you’re younger you have such granite guidelines for the process of growing up. The big ones being seventeen, (for driving), and eighteen, (for drinking). Obviously these rigid lines are heavily blurred, with no-one really following the laws that strictly, but they’re still there; the goalposts that you pass demonstrating to the world how much more of an adult you’ve become.
Yet once you’ve passed out of that stage and have no more set targets, when can one finally state, “Yep, now I’m an adult, I’m no longer basically an idiot.”
I looked back over my old travel pictures the other day whilst writing a short article for a friend about travel and happiness. Aged 18, heading off around the world to see remote places on the planet, new camera in hand to capture this epic, (yet heavily travelled), unique journey. What could I think as I looked through the old pictures?
Man, I took a load of crap photos.
After several years, reflecting back on many decisions, pieces of work, accomplishments; they never seem to have the same shine and some of them are frankly questionable. That in the space of time since whatever happened, I’ve changed enough to realise that what I thought was great then, wasn’t really that great.
Does this go on forever though? Will I laugh at the ridiculousness of choices I made in my twenties when I’m in my thirties, will I do this again in my forties for my thirties? Will I be doddering around in my eighties, (hopefully), looking at the young seventy year olds and thinking how they have no idea the aging that is about to hit them? When can I become that famed ‘adult’ full of self-knowledge?
For all sense and purposes, I guess I technically get classed as an adult now. I have debt, my own apartment, a full time job, care enough about the politics of my country to make sure I’m voting from abroad and make pretty much all my own life choices. Yet it never quite feels real.
My debt is just student debt, so I can happily let it sit there not bothering me, until student finance can figure out their paperwork and whether I need to pay them or not. I have an apartment, but it comes free with my job, so it isn’t really mine and will never feel properly like home, even if I have done a bit of decorating. The same goes for the job, it’s so low pressured that it hardly feels like work; the heavy schedule of my social life is more taxing in organising than organising what classes I’ll be teaching the following week.
The students may call me teacher, but teachers were definitely grown-ups when I was a student, and I don’t feel like one of them yet. I’d like to think I’m not ‘basically an idiot’ though, but I guess I’ll just have to answer that in ten years.