Ask me my age and 90 per cent of the time I’ll hesitate before answering. Not because I’m embarrassed to admit the number- I’m 26- but because I have to think about it to make sure I’m getting it right. In some ways, I feel like nothing in me has really changed since I was sixteen. Where did those ten years go? And why can I still not see myself as a grown-up?
Back when I was 16, as chairperson of our school’s branch of Toastmasters International (yes, I still had friends!), I wrote and delivered a speech on Adulthood as part of an end-of-year concert. I spoke about being in that key stage of transition between child and adult, but the speech centred around a bunch of seemingly ordinary things that in spite of how I thought I had developed, I couldn’t see myself doing anytime soon. They were things that, to me, only my parents did: budgeting for health insurance, procrastinating over floor tiles, incorporating all the major food groups into an evening meal, scrubbing the toilet… I remember my father cringing at an acute description of my mother fishing a stray spoon out of the rubbish bin with her bare hands! Things like that, I admitted, were still foreign and to me, what symbolised adulthood in a real, everyday sense. Once or twice recently, in the midst of a Saturday-afternoon hoovering frenzy, I’ve stopped myself to acknowledge that ‘Yes! I am indeed growing up!’, but for the most part, the sentiments in that speech still apply today and I find myself caught in limbo, waiting for my grown-up instincts and sense of responsibility to kick in.
That’s why I put this ‘thing’ on the list- part because I wanted to prove to myself that I have grown up in the last ten years, and part because if I haven’t, its about time I did. Taking your parents out to dinner- instead of the other way around- is a big step towards adulthood. In my books anyway. My 16-year-old self would have neither the money nor the inclination to do that.
We all went to Friday Brunch (an institution in Dubai) at the Rotana on JBR when my parents came to see me earlier this year. The rite of passage I was expecting by completing this ‘thing’ was underwhelming but the food served was out-of-this-world good. Friday Brunch in Dubai could be a ‘thing’ all on its own. We left groaning after grazing for almost four hours on some very beautifully-presented, coma-inducing food, served alongside bottomless alcoholic drinks! A combination I could easily adapt to. As for my own development into adulthood, I guess I’ll have to work on some of the icky spoon-in-the-garbage-type-things too.
€5 has been donated to UNICEF Ireland for the completion of this ‘thing’. Click here if you too would like to donate online.