In my youthful folly, my ambition was always to become an enigmatic, self-contained bohemian. It seemed to me a noble, if slightly irrational, goal. Over the years I gradually let the ambition drift off my To Do list, and, just as gradually, another life goal replaced it. This was to become adult.
For some reason, it was much harder than I thought. I didn’t feel adult when I was 18 and legally able to drink. That sort of loses its novelty factor when you have grandparents who try to force vodka down your throat from the age of 12 at family lunches.
I didn’t feel adult when I left home for the first time and lived overseas on my own. Maybe because I mostly indulged in very teenage ambitions, like eating chocolate and fried chicken every day. Or maybe it was because I travelled with a friend so I spent the first few months sharing a bedroom, and it was like being 11 again. We even squabbled.
I didn’t feel adult when I learnt to drive, but that was probably because I kept crashing other people’s vehicles. I could never afford a car of my own because I spent so much money paying off other people’s dented doors and smashed windscreens. When I finally got a car of my own I called it Humbug so that I could swear at it and call it by name at the same time when it backfired or wouldn’t start. It saved a lot of time.
However, now that I am finally old enough to be too embarrassed to tell anyone how old I am, I think I am finally an adult. I have done some very adult things recently. I signed a lease all on my own for the first time ever. Several hours after that, I became a landlady for the first time. (Guess who my tenant is? Bilingual Jane!) But the most adult thing of all happened next, and it was the total clincher: I preheated the oven. Let’s just pause and review here: I preheated the oven. Not only did I plan to cook something in an oven for goodness sake (which seems so much more grown up than a mere stovetop), I got into the kitchen*, assembled my ingredients, and decided the first thing to do was preheat the oven. Sometimes I astound myself.
*let’s call it a ‘conceptual kitchen’ because all that changes to divide up the space is the floor surface