July 11, 2013

growing pains.

i just bought myself a set of measuring cups and now i feel like a proper grown-up.

it lasted for 45 minutes till i failed to make a very simple cupcake recipe. then i poured myself some wine to make me feel better. i never fail at pouring wine.

i say proper grown-up because i know statistically and biologically i have been in the grown-up category for a while. i have a job, i don't live with my parents, and i own a car. i have a credit card and i manage to pay it off most months. i not only have health insurance but also insurance for my flat, said car, and for in case i should ever lose my very expensive contact lenses. next year i will have to tick the 35 – 45 year box on surveys and i will have no excuse not to buy anti-ageing cream anymore. all this makes me a grown-up by a long stretch and is scares me a bit right now.
if you thought or think turning 30 is scary i somewhat lovingly call you a baby - you don't know anything yet. that box i will tick next year is way scarier than any 30th could ever be.

but regardless of the statistics and the boxes and the scary feeling i just don't feel very grown-up most days. i don't know if it would be different if i had a husband and kids. who knows… as it is i don't have either, so i only have measuring cups as a means to get a whiff of what it must feel like to be grown-up. it is not even that i haven't bought stuff for my home before. i own stuff. furniture, vases, even some kitchen gadgets, a fridge, and gardening gloves. but those things don’t make me feel particularly grown-up, they just help me feel at home. i have usually lived with people who enjoyed their living space as exactly that – a home. not just a place to eat and sleep, but to live. i managed not to eat a single pack of two minute noodles all throughout college. that didn't mean we had much money, but we were all far away from home so we needed to create our own and in a home you cook. so we went out, bought a starter kit and a table from ikea, cooked meals together and then sat around the table to eat. one year gladys’ mum gave her a microwave for christmas. apparently a microwave is what all college kids want. we used it once for popcorn and afterwards as storage space.
so no, things never made me feel particularly grown-up, things are just means to create a home, which i have been doing since i got my first glow in the dark barbie bed. so i think i am just really struggling to come terms with adulthood right now and i blame the measuring cups.
no actually, i think it hit me when i turned 34 this year. every year a few months before my birthday i get used to my new age and i almost start telling people how old i will be instead of how old i am. i don’t do that on purpose, it just happens so by the time my birthday rolls around, it never strikes me as new or terrifying. in addition my life has always gotten better every year. yes, there are always ups and downs but overall i am in a much better place than i was at 25. but for some reason something was different when i turned 34. i started to write 28 34 in an attempt to look witty, but i guess we can agree that this was just a way to mask my own insecurities.

34 makes me feel old.
there i said it.

i don’t want to be a grown-up, it makes me feel old. and now someone will quip in that age is all, but a number. i don't buy it. it seems to give people a free pass to behave like annoying 5 year olds or to pretend they have it all figured out at the ripe age of 16.
i think i started thinking about my age as an issue when i met this guy i sort of liked who is my age. he was only interested in being friends which was fine till he started dating a girl who is 23. i really only sort of liked him so i wouldn't have minded the fact that he was dating someone else that much, but the fact that she was so young irked me. the thing is, he is not the kind of guy to go for someone that much younger because she is young but in spite of it. which tells me he just really likes her and that should be okay for me or at least make me admit that i did perhaps more than sort of liked him. it didn't. it didn't make me feel lonely or rejected, all it made me feel was really, really old.

here is the thing – i have done lots of things, cool things, awesome things, daring things, things i will never forget and things some other people will never forget. and when i see myself as properly old, i actually don’t mind it. i will own a little house somewhere by the beach and have a loft in the city, with all likelihood i will have some cats, i will die my hair silver and wear a turban, probably start smoking again and may learn to enjoy vodka martinis, i will still write stories, and love the idea that my family will call me eccentric auntie annika. so being that old i really don’t mind at all, i just mind the part when i am 34.
i think it’s the whole in-between of figuring out how to get there that is freaking me out a bit. the how to finance the house and the loft, the where should the house and the loft be, the how to get someone to pay me to write, the do i want to share my life with someone or rather travel the world like a gypsy, the how to eventually live without my parents and would that make me an orphan, the do i want to have a child and if not will i regret it one day and if yes how will i make it all work, the what will the world be like when i’m old and how can i do my part that it’s a good one.

something shifted this week. again i don’t know how and why, but i now realize this figuring things out is what we call growing up. big revelation, hey? nobody comes with a manual or has it all sorted out overnight. i have been figuring things out for myself for quite some time now and i am not so bad at it when i look back and look at where i am now. so maybe i just dislike the word, but i am actually good at growing up? and maybe if i’m good at growing up, i am already good at being a grown-up? and maybe being good at this grown-up business is rather wise and doesn’t make me old, because after all what choice to do i have anyhow? we all know that showing midriff with belly piercing to work only makes one look old and sad.
so here i am. a 34 year old girl/woman/depends on the lighting. i suck at baking, but fortunately i do have the means to buy myself a cupcake. i can eat it bed for breakfast too. and isn’t that what calling yourself a grown-up is good for and makes you feel anything but old?

p.s. my mother gave me a photo album for christmas with pictures of me and my family. i love it. it makes me laugh and it makes me cry, but mostly it makes me feel incredibly loved. so i thought this post was perfect to show you some, me growing up or trying to…


my mum and me. basically baby me as baby bear, you can see i always had lots of hair.

i not only always sucked at baking, i even sucked at putting together ice-cream cake. my crocked attempt hidden under lot of sparklers for a new year’s eve party. let’s not even mention that blouson that i am wearing, it was after all the 80s.

i think it may have been my dad who initiated that turban idea for my old age. here we were in denmark on holiday and it was the most horrid weather throughout. so my mother came up with plenty of ideas to keep us kids entertained as beach was out of the question. one evening we held a ‘who has the ugliest costume’ contest. i don’t remember who won, but it couldn’t have been my dad, i think he actually looks quite fabulous.


  1. Your dad is rocking that turban. I turned 30 recently and thought that it would be all kinds of awe and shock but no, it's just a different year, with perhaps a little more sense of the urgent to get things done, and I have a feeling that it will be the same every year onward, until I reach a more substantial milestone. I don't have kids yet, so I don't know if they indeed do make one feel grown-up. I still sulk and throw tantrums. I think when I start feeling foolish about those, that's when I'll have grown up.

    1. He is, isn't he? :)
      I personally don't like to wait for milestones, they seem to belittle everything else and we have most of everything else. I think tantrums are underrated - I think I should add that to the 'eccentric auntie' list: is very wise, but if someone won't accept her wisdom, she will throw a tantrum!

  2. Oh I so understand what you mean!! I turned 30 last month and I CAN'T STAND IT when people assume I'm going to "grow up" just because my age no longer has a 2 in front of it. No, I will not slow down and buy a house somewhere, I'm not getting a driver's licence any time soon (until they make it free!)and most importantly, babies are the last thing on my mind. I don't know if I want to live in the UK "forever" (the concept of forever is foreign to my mind. I do what I want to do TODAY), maybe tomorrow I'll want to move someplace else and if that's the case I'll start packing! I love being 30 - but only on my own terms.

    1. I love that and must remember: being my age but only on my own terms!
      Mind you though - I love my driver's license. I had one since I was 18, but driving terrified me. When I moved to Cape Town my uncle took me into the mountains in Lesotho and taught me. Now I love it! Makes me feel quite liberated and grown up in a very good way.

  3. When I close my eyes, I still picture myself as a 17 year old girl with all the hopes and dreams which the future holds. When I look in the mirror I don't consider myself grown up or grown old. When I tell people my age I am proud because I am alive and have lived and will continue my journey on hopes and dreams.

    ps Last year when I bought a bed (2nd hand mind you) I felt like it was the most adult thing I've done in a long time.

    1. That's how I usually look at myself, for some reason this year was just different. But what a nice reminder - we are alive and have lived!


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