Being an actual, proper grown up

Although I’m rapidly approaching 37, I still like to think about what I’ll be when I’m an actual proper grown up. I think this might have something to do with the fact that I’ve never had a job with a proper name – I’ve never been able to say ‘I’m a doctor / teacher / hairdresser / nurse ‘, that sort of thing. And that makes me feel like I’m blagging a bit, like one day I’m going to be seen through and someone will realise that I’m actually only 14.

I suspect, though, that this is how most grown ups feel….whether or not they’ve got a job with a proper name.

When you’re little, everyone talks about what you’ll do ‘when you grow up‘ don’t they? As if being a grown up is exciting which, compared to being a child, it isn’t. My 3 year olds dream of driving a yellow digger when they’re grown ups. When they realise that, even if they do end up driving a digger, being a grown up is also about paying bills, mowing the lawn and putting another wash on, I have a feeling they will want to go back to being three and dressing up as pirates.

When I was little I think I must have imagined that one day I would walk through a magical archway into Grown-Up-Land, where everything would fall into place and I would just BE a grown-up. And, of course, in Grown-Up-Land I would have a job with a name.

There are many things I find difficult to accept about being a grown up and here is one – that 20 years ago I was taking my GCSEs. 20 YEARS AGO! I can’t accept that I was old enough to do anything 20 years ago. Now I work in a school and frequently find myself talking to sixth form students about my university experience…..then I have to remind myself that actually THEY REALLY DON’T CARE where I went to university because the year that I went, most of them weren’t even born. That’s right, they weren’t born in 1998. That can’t be right.

But, whilst I’m having trouble accepting that I’m now closer to 50 than 21, I can’t deny that I am a proper grown up. Not just because I have a few grown up things like a house, a husband, three children and Denby crockery; but because of a whole load of other things which gradually, over the last 15 years or so, have started to happen. I have now realised that being a grown up means so many different things, not just having a job with a proper name. Here are a few…..

Being a grown up is being tired all the time, drowning in washing and pretending to know the answers to things.

Being a grown up is having bad knees, a bad back; and aches and pains that weren’t there 20 years ago.

Being a grown up is actually wanting to stay in on a Saturday night.

Being a grown up is no longer worrying about trying to be friends with everyone, but being thankful for the friends you have.

Being a grown up is when you dream of a new kitchen rather than a new wardrobe.

Being a grown up is wondering how on earth people who were born 10 or more years after you can possibly already have achieved huge things in their lives. And maybe resenting it just a bit.

Being a grown up is when being at home with cosy socks, slippers and a glass of wine is more appealing than after work drinks.

Being a grown up is when you think joining the National Trust is one of the best things you ever did.

Being a grown up is when you don’t know who is at Number 1 in the charts and, worst of all, you don’t care. Back when you were 14, you couldn’t imagine this moment would ever come.

Being a grown up is when you drink more tea/coffee than you do cold drinks.

Being a grown up is when you realise you might have to do something about all the grey hairs.

Being a grown up is when you seek out a bit of quiet rather than the noise.

Being a grown up is when you hear songs from 20 years ago but don’t think of them as being old.

Being a grown up is rarely straightforward. It involves floundering, stopping, starting, often getting it wrong and starting again.

Being a grown up is accepting that you may never have a job with a proper name.

Being a grown up is doing your best to appear competent, even though most of the time you don’t have a clue what you are doing. But I’ve decided that’s ok, because most grown ups are just stumbling around hoping they’re doing the right thing. And if you’re going to stumble, you might as well stumble in your comfy socks and slippers.

socks and slippers



4 thoughts on “Being an actual, proper grown up

  1. ‘Being a grown up is when you dream of a new kitchen rather than a new wardrobe’ – oh no, does that mean I’m finally a grown up? Nooooooooo!!


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