When I was a child Peter Pan was my favourite fairy tale. I often dreamed that a boy dressed head to toe in emerald green would burst through my window with a tiny fairy at his side to whisk me away on many adventures.
Now my version of an adventure is having a lie-in or diving into a good book. However, it’s now getting to the stage where I have realised that chanting the mantra “I don’t want to grow up” is not going to save me from my fate. I’m becoming an adult and I am scared.
Watch out on the roads!
You might think that the fact that I am about to enter sixth year and become an adult should be an exciting time, and it is. But for the last few weeks, the realisation that I am no longer a child has begun to set in, due to the fact that I had my first driving lesson this week. Now the driving is not the issue, I’m actually okay at driving, and when I say okay I mean that I survived and so did the driving instructor and everyone who was walking on the road got home alive. What is driving me mad (bad pun not intended) is that I’m actually old enough to drive a car on a public road.
And apparently, there is plenty of adult things I can do now, like donate blood or fly a helicopter, (to be honest I think I’ll stick to the car). That list is only going to get longer when I blow out the candles next February. It will include but is not limited to, standing for election in the county council, buying fireworks, and cast a vote. I don’t think I will be doing any of those on the night of my eighteenth, but it is nice to know that I have options.
When will I know how to fold a fitted sheet?
It’s a big step, so if you’re out there freaking about the sudden influx of Leaving Cert exam papers, 18th birthday invitations, learner’s plates on cars and you are starting to see all the safety nets slowly disappearing. Don’t worry you aren’t alone, and to be honest there is no solid advice I can give anyone because I don’t know what it’s like to just grow up.
So, I asked some people who are actually adults. “Will I suddenly be able to adult when I turn eighteen? Like will I be able to do taxes and fold fitted sheets and know all the adult stuff?” was the question I put to my youth theatre director, who subsequently tipped her head back in laughter at my worried face. She told me you don’t just suddenly become an adult, and just as you do with everything in life you learn as you go. Most adults are just going along with life. She told me adults aren’t really adults, they’re just older children faking their maturity, pretending they know what they are doing. That made me laugh because as I thought about it, I realised that she was right.
So, when I think about it adulting is not as scary as I think because the adults around me are still learning how to live their lives and I’m just starting. You aren’t expected to know everything straight away, that would be like walking into an exam expecting to get a H1 without ever learning the material first.
“it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”
The responsibilities that are about to put on our shoulders may seem overwhelming, the thoughts of moving away or leaving the school and people you’ve know all your life is scary and nerve-wracking. No magic potion or a little boy dressed in green will whisk us away and keep us young forever. We want to be able to do the fun things we did as kids forever, but unfortunately getting older is something that we cannot stop ourselves from doing.
It is not meant to be easy; these life changes are not meant to feel like a walk in the park. But we do things because they are hard and succeed in spite of the challenges. So, even though I may not get everything right on the first go, and by the time I turn 21, I may not be able to fold a fitted sheet, I’ll get there.
Mistakes be damned. I just need to take a breath, put the car into gear, take my foot off the brake and go.