Sunday 23 October 2016

Attempts at being an adult

Growing older is inevitable, but when do we become grown-ups? Is she 'adulting', Elle Gordon wonders

Elle Gordon

Published 06/06/2016 | 02:30

Young millennial: Elle Gordon. Photo: Kip Carroll.
Young millennial: Elle Gordon. Photo: Kip Carroll.

'We must buy a lamp." This statement worms its way into our living room at least once a week. Usually its aftermath is greeted with giggles, snorts and grand declarations that "next week, we will definitely get one". Thus far, Ikea and its wide range of lamps have evaded us. Even Lidl homeware hasn't managed to get a look in. What is this hostility towards the humble lamp, you wonder? The only way to explain it is to use the ever trusty line, 'it's not you, it's me' - or, in this case, us.

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We, my housemates and I, are currently going through a transition. No, not the one that is immediately springing to your mind. A transition of a different kind.

A transition that thus far has inflicted us with a sort of lamp-itis. The lamp, in fact, has become symbolic of what's really going on in our lives.

Let me tell you a little about us. We are all in our mid-20s and, thankfully, employed. That's us, just three youngish millennials cohabiting peacefully. We have lost that fresh-faced 'hiya, I'm just out of college' glow, replaced by something different, a sort of yield to the fact that 'hello' should be our salutation of choice from now on. Adulthood.

We go to bed at 9.30pm; 10.30pm on a Thursday if we're feeling particularly devilish. Post comes in the letterbox addressed to us, triggering a strained "more bills" outburst from one or all of us. This outburst is usually accompanied by a shudder that, without warning, we are turning into our parents.

We are tentatively navigating the murky limbo land that is not quite student and not quite adult. We are people who are adulting. Pretend adults.

Sometimes this pretend adulthood seems to be going well. This realisation becomes apparent at specific times, such as, payday (HALLELUJAH ADULTING), large purchases; that time Conor, my housemate, bought himself a new Audi A5. (Yeah, he's not a journo, if you're wondering). And other mad moments; we buy serum, set up direct debits minus any gnawing fear, and when friends call over we always have milk and teabags, as opposed to empty glass bottles of some kind.

But still we navigate the realms of adult with caution. A sort of incredulity grips us that it's actually happening. It's no longer a case of a delicious separation; 'those adults at the wedding'. Suddenly, that's become us, we are them. We are there at the weddings. "It'll be you two next": once a lark buffed away by hearty chuckles, now brings more of a withering sting. A little reminder without the merry ping. Oh. Shit. Must. Grow. Up. Fast.

Another thing this dawn of the adult has brought with it is eye cream. Yes. As in a cream that you put on your eyes separately to when you put on your moisturiser. An additional step has firmly planted itself in my skincare regime. I have a fourth step.

How I hanker for the days of cleanse, tone and moisturise. To purchase a tiny bottle that costs more than my week's groceries sounds loud alarm bells in the still student-dwelling part of my brain. Yet the memory of the smiley beautician, post-face mapping, assuring me that, at 25, I should really start immediately on the areas that show the first signs of ageing, her eyes flickering for a fraction too long on the skin around my eyes (ahhh) is enough to cause me to reach for the wallet.

So why not do the same for the lamp? Yes, we are back to the lamp. I think it stems from a sort of subconscious rebellion to the inevitable passing of time. We all have to grow up, and we will. But our sparse, albeit clean, but distinctively sparse lamp-less living room acts as little reminder; a proclamation of sorts. We might be growing older, but we are still young. We can still party like it's 2009. Our parties can go on until dawn and we never have to worry about anything getting spilled on the rug. Because we don't have a rug!

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