Grown Up

I will be turning 35 in a just a few short months…and I got married last year (yes, things are much changed since since I wrote The L Word). I now have a husband and I go by the name Aunty Yaya too. Even Paperdoll has an updated, adult look about it these days.

Long gone are the days (years?) of drunken London night buses at 4am with a dirty kebab stop on the way home…apparently I’ve grown up. But aside from my imminent graduation into the next age tick box, how do I know I’ve grown up?

The first indication is that I haven’t dyed my hair since 2009. Prior to that I tried various shades of ‘unflattering’ to complement whatever horrid cut I was sporting at the time. Whenever the thought enters my head now, my grown up brain remembers that there’s photographic evidence of the dark-brown-post-breakup-fringe phase that left me looking like a goth member of ABBA. Even balayage, with its alluring regrowth concealment appeal, can’t tempt me these days.

The ratio of flat shoes to high heels in my wardrobe has shifted significantly as I have grown up.  The high heels I do own now, I only wear on ‘special’ occasions…AKA when I feel I would be a social leper not to. At which point I curse them almost immediately and give my younger self a mental high five and face slap, simultaneously. How did I put myself through that pain so frequently?! My grown up self despises heels so passionately that I even spoke out about it recently in the UK media.

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As a grown up, I’ve noticed that work has become less about the pay cheque and more about doing something fulfilling with my days. I want to contribute, I want to change the world…or at least have some small impact. I’m told this will change once I have children and a mortgage…but that is a whole other level of grown up that I am unwilling to face just yet.

I know I must have grown up because I now get up earlier on weekends than weekdays, to do things like Pilates, or ‘make the most of my day’. Bed times and wake up times are becoming earlier, synchronised with each other. Soon I will be my parents…falling asleep on a recliner at 8:30pm, while watching Downton Abbey.

I know I must have grown up because sometimes my lips are moving and I hear my mother’s words coming out. Occasionally I’m actually mistaken for my mother now too…and comments such as ‘Oh my, you look more like your mother every day!’ are becoming more frequent. It’s a good thing Mrs B Senior still looks like a fox as she heads towards 60…I won’t complain.

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When I was young, I couldn’t drive because I had to drink. Now I drive so I don’t have to drink. That right there is the epitome of being grown up. The only thing more grown up is not being able to drink because you are pregnant (refer to my earlier comment about that being next level grown up sh#t I’m not ready for yet).

‘I remember when you were this big!’ and ‘Oh, you’re just a baby!’ are common phrases in my vocabulary now that I am a grown up. The latter comment is usually thrown at ‘young people’ I mistook as being of similar age to me. When I discover they are in fact in their early twenties. And I realise that means there’s a decade between us. Don’t even get me started on the pop culture references I can’t use with these youngsters…that attempt always ends with me uttering the words ‘Oh, you’re too young to remember’, or, ‘Never mind, you weren’t born yet’.

A sure sign that I am a grown up is that catch ups with my friends now involve venues and menus that are child proof/friendly. I am also honoured to be ‘Aunty Carla‘ to a number of little ones who are fortunate enough not to be connected to me biologically (apologies to the one who does have my blood running through his veins). My younger self avoided children like the plague, but these days, my heart hurts to be so far away from the majority of these small people and their wealth of cuddles and imaginative games.

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For all this growing up though, some things will never change. I continue to irresponsibly open things with my teeth, tissues still find their way into my clothes washes on a regular basis and I will always subscribe to Jerry Seinfeld’s philosophy that cereal is an acceptable meal at any time of the day.

I may inevitably be headed for that 35-45 age tick box, but I think I still have plenty more growing up to do.

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