When I was younger I thought that every birthday would bring on a new stage of maturity and I would actually feel different. That the day after, I would feel a bit more like an adult and could leave the childish behaviours from the past year behind. Of course this does not happen. No one wakes up at the age of 10 and a day, packs away their playmobil and starts reading Fréttablaðið and gets interested in local politics.
Like most changes, we mature at a slow pace without fully noticing it. However, there are certain moments that mature you more than others. I felt like I became an adult over one weekend. On Saturday I graduated with a B.S. degree in Psychology and on Sunday I became a woman. No longer a girl, but a woman. And it had nothing to do with periods or virginity.
Costly being an adult
At the end of the day I stood on the floor in my little apartment and contemplated my surroundings, they felt unfamiliar. There were at least two too many teddy bears on the sofa, there was no colour scheme and I felt strangely inferior for only having one pot and one pan. So I went out and did some shopping for the home. My old spotty Ikea bed sheets gave way to new Danish cotton sheets and a grey bedspread. Instead of a tea towel with pictures of strawberries and melons, my kitchen now had beige cloths in down to earth tones matching the two rugs that I added in my shopping spree.
A great expanse follows when you become an adult and have to buy all the things that make you one. I cleared out my jewellery box and threw away all my plastic, neon coloured skull earrings. Even though I didn’t throw away my teddy bears, they now rest behind my jeans in the closet. The biggest expense of being an adult is saving up for an apartment, buying groceries, paying back the car, buying clothes for the children and simply living, with all that includes. Though I don’t have any children nor a car, I think it stinks that I now have to start saving for the future instead of buying waterproof Bluetooth headphones or half of the supplies at Nexus, just because I want to.
I came quickly down from adult high when I realised that I now had to stop buying everything that I wanted when I wanted to, if I wanted to have some savings when Student Housing finally kicks me out. Otherwise I would have to become an eternal student and start collecting university degrees like stamps.
The sole older than the body?
It is indeed expensive to exist. But I feel like I’ve gained dignity with the silly things I’ve gathered and consider them an investment for the future. Maybe it’s not rugs or oven gloves that define everyone’s adulthood but I bet that everyone has something that they connect with the shift from childhood to adulthood. For example when you ask your mom to accompany you to Rúmfatalagerinn instead of being dragged along. Or cursing your neighbours for partying into the night. Or reading books that you had no interest in when you were in high school but now realise that you love.
When I was younger it was important to me that people would notice me, that I was different and provoking. That I defined myself as something spectacular and that everyone would remember me. Now I just want to be left alone, drink my tea and be in bed before the partying starts. Perhaps my soul is older than my body and I’m behaving like an old lady but for the first time I feel like I have a home inside of me. A younger me would look at my dreams today and cringe. Who wants to be that ordinary? I was going to travel around the world, rock the boat and cause some chaos. Now I sit and look at real estate ads on mbl.is and flick through interior design magazines with greed. (Hús og híbýlí)
Maybe the biggest moment of becoming a grown up is to be satisfied with yourself and not have the need to be important or do important things. To just let yourself exist. Ordinary and unexciting, peaceful and happy.
Journalist: Rut Guðnadóttir
Translation: Guðný Ósk Laxdal
Article first published in 4th issue, vol 92. of Stúdentablaðið.