Editor’s Note. This has been sitting in my Drafts in one of about three formats for a few weeks or months now, I’m not really sure how long. I wouldn’t bother saying any of it, because in some ways I feel like it doesn’t need to be said. Surely the point I’m making is that the secret to contentment is to stop constantly trying to figure out How It All Works, and instead just enjoy How It Is, and this entry runs almost counter to that. But I’m going to publish this anyway, and then I can stop wondering about whether I should bother saying The Obvious (which I think this kind of is) or not, and just do it. Because, frankly, since when have I held back on here before just because what I’m saying is obvious?
Having now spent quite a lot of time feeling like I’m no longer an adolescent, I finally feel qualified to offer a few comments on adulthood. Because, you know, I am just so mature these days and things. There is really no way to say any of this without sounding tediously fresh and young and silly and yes, perhaps even a bit (whisper it) ‘adolescent’. But what I’m trying to say is, yes, I’m still young. I’m twenty-one, of course I’m young. And I’ve got a lot to learn and although I would love to think there is some point at which we can all say, oh, thank goodness for that, I’m really mature now, I know the answer to everything, really, you know, you go on learning throughout your life. As long as new things keep happening, you gain new perspectives on things and you learn new ways of dealing with things as they happen.
So here are some interesting things I’ve noticed.
Getting more organised hasn’t actually been that difficult. I’m not perfect – I still struggle to be on time to everything – but I manage to be on time to the most important things, and I have so far, this academic year (this is obviously a statistically valid and completely-large-enough sample of time) always had all the things I needed to accomplish a given activity at whatever appointed time I was meant to accomplish it.
Friendships have changed. In the olden days, I had a small number of close friends, and I defined those people as the people who I felt I could tell pretty much anything to. We probably spent a ridiculous quantity of time talking about our deepest, darkest, inner truths. Now the people I keep around me are the people who make me happy, who make me laugh, whose company I enjoy. Perhaps if I wanted I could talk to them about my deepest darkest inner truths except, oh wait, I don’t seem to have deep dark truths any more. And that’s amazing. My closest friends, then, are the people I enjoy being around. And that means there are a lot more of them.
That’s not to say that I don’t have feelings. Of course there are days where I’ve just spent a million years in labs or lectures and I fail to see the point of any of it and I’m tired and I’m confused and I’m definitely the most single and ugly person on the face of the planet. But then you get home and the telly and the kettle are on and you just get on with it. Because that’s the other thing I think I’ve realised about this maturity fandango – it’s that most of the time how you feel is really not the most important thing out there. It’s far more important that you get your work done, get some food in, feed the kids, pay the bills, and before you know where you are there really isn’t time for you to get all emotional and frilly around the edges. Perhaps you have to bite your tongue or not allow yourself to stop and think once in a while – but what I think, is that that is, actually, fine. That’s the way it should be.
Perhaps what I’ve learnt is that you shouldn’t expect to be happy all the time, and there’s no sense in worrying why you’re not. Do what you need to do to keep moving and alive, and work to be surrounded by things and people that put a grin on your face. And that, really, is more than enough.