Does being “grown up” suck?

Why did we spend all those years desperate to grow up only to now wish ourselves back to the way things were? When you’re 13 years old there is nothing worse than having your life ruled by your parents. You think that it would be fantastic to be 23 and living in your own place where your friends could come round whenever you fancied, or to be 33 and have a fantastic job earning so much money that you could buy whatever you wanted. I suppose the reason we look back so often is because, when you do ‘grow up’, you realise that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. OK, so we have houses, cars, jobs and relationships now, but these are the very things that, in a strange way, make being an adult so binding. The pleasure of being able to decorate your house however you want and to leave the tidying up if you like a mess, is sometimes outweighed by the hassle of having to sort out bills and get hold of an emergency plumber. The joy of driving wherever you want at a moment’s notice and bombing it down deserted country roads, is beaten into submission by the escalating costs of fuel and insurance. In the job versus school debate, I know where I stand now. All of the dissatisfaction that’s brewing up has got to lead somewhere and, let me tell you, it’s very bad news for sensible grown ups everywhere.

When I was fourteen, I had a moment of clarity and realised that it was the beginning of the end. The impending school year was the first where my work would count towards exams and it was all downhill from there. I had GCSEs, then A-levels, then university… then a job with actual responsibility. I wanted to stay a kid forever. I wanted my biggest worries to be whether or not I’d done my homework and how to tidy my room with the least amount of effort. Instead, I knew that I was on a sliding scale to a lifetime of working in a far from perfect job just to pay the bills and feed myself. Depressing thoughts for one so young but, even though I’ve had some fun along the way, it turns out I was right. So how do we get back to the good old days?

Well, back in 2002 you couldn’t tear me away from the club known as School Disco for that very reason. It certainly helped get back some of that carefree feeling. Hearing the old songs, not having to worry whether or not you’d be better dressed than everyone else there, singing along, smiling at everyone… it was like a natural high. More recently I moved on to house parties as another way to re-live the good old days, but it’s often better if someone else is hosting! Next up was sleepovers, with a bunch of girls dotted all over the living room floor in pyjamas and sleeping bags watching Heathers. It’s perfectly healthy to be silly once in a while, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself as I sit around slacking off in my pig kigu.

If I was giving advice to a child – which they’d no doubt ignore as I’d end up sounding just like my mum – I’d say they mustn’t be too eager to grow up. School days might not be the best of your life, but you certainly get more than your fair share of fun. How many Facebook messages have you received from friends that have a “remember this?” theme to them? As long as we can still get together with out friends and talk about all the fun we’ve had (and are hopefully still having) then mundane parts of our grown up lives won’t seem so bad. Just remember the days when the worst thing you could say to someone was that they weren’t invited to your birthday party and you’ll be smiling for the rest of the day.

A version of this article was first published on BitchBuzz in 2010.

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