This past week, I felt like I’ve grown up a pretty significant amount. Mainly due to the fact that applying for my UK visa for next year (audible gulp) has resulted in me filling out a significant amount of forms, doing all the important things like checking my bank account to convert New Zealand dollars into British pounds (audible gasp!), entering passport details, booking my biometrics appointment, looking at maps and trying to work out how to get from one place to another in the cheapest way possible. All this has made me feel positively middle-aged, because this is the sort of thing that older, wiser people do. You know…ADULTS. Those worldly, older people who automatically just know stuff. Forget Google, just go ask an adult.
Then it hit me. I AM an adult. Whether I like it or not, next year I am going to be in London, pretty much entirely on my own. As such, I had better start figuring out things for myself, and acting like the mature, sophisticated grown-up I am. *snorts with laughter at the thought* Me? Seriously?
CUT TO: Ext. Large green park, surrounded by trees.
Myself in trenchcoat and boots, marching across the grass, with a well-groomed Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu dog in tow, and talking on my new iPhone 10+:
“Darling, I am absolutely flat tack! I have to go and do the groceries, such a chore, and then I’m meeting Isabella and Emily for afternoon tea. I’ll be home around five, don’t forget to pop the shepherds pie into the oven for tonight’s dinner. Hopefully the traffic’s not a bloody nightmare, ha ha! What’s that? Oh I’ve missed you too, and so has Peggy here, haven’t we, Peggy?” Dog is barking madly, trying desperately to get away to chase a group of ducks. “Peggy, stop that! Sorry darling, I’m going to have to go now, don’t want to be late for Bella and Emmy! See you at home, love you, byeee!” Hangs up phone, stares around at tree-lined carpark. “Now, where did I park the car?”
But fear not. For those of you who, like me, are just out of university and trying to find your place in the world, or even for those of you who may be in your mid-thirties and still don’t feel quite ‘grown up’ yet, then I present to you this guide. It’s easy to follow, and will have you transformed from a pot-noodle cider-drinking uni student fanatic to a cool, calm and collected adult. Such fun!
Bindy’s Guide On How To Be An Adult When You Don’t Feel Like One Quite Yet Or Are One But Are Not Ready To Accept The Harsh Reality Of Circumstance.
1. Use fancy names for EVERYTHING. One thing that adults are known for is their ability to use names for things that sound so much nicer than when us ‘youths’ say it. Let’s start with dinner dishes. When someone asks, “What are you having for dinner?” don’t say, “2-minute noodles with cheese and chicken drumsticks.” Instead, reply, “I’m having angel hair spaghetti tossed with lightly grilled chicken pieces, topped with a garnish of parmesan.” Fish and chips would be, “Battered hoki fillet with a side of oven-cooked potato sticks.” And tacos are, “Oh, we’re going Mexican tonight.”
As for other inedible objects, always use the name in full. For example, instead of saying, “Try some of my perfume,” try, “Here, have a spritz of my Jo Malone.” And, “Please darling, pass me my pashmina from the wardrobe” sounds so much better than, “Chuck me my scarf, will ya?”
2. If you don’t know the answer, make something up in such an elaborate way so that the person you’re talking to doesn’t know any different. The other day, I was asked by a friend while we were making cupcakes what causes the cupcakes to rise. In order to sound more knowledgable and informative than I currently am about cooking, I responded confidently, “Well, it’s a chemical reaction. The flour and baking powder, well…um, reacts with the hot temperature of the oven, causing the cupcakes to rise, which is what you can see here with them, um, having a golden-brown colouring on top…” Of course I had no idea really what I was really talking about, but I got away with it!
Or, just repeat what they are saying so it sounds like you understand, eg. “The inflation of house prices nowadays are shocking!” “House price inflation is shocking, yes,” with a murmur of agreement and a nod thrown in. Works wonders.
3. When company arrives, transform the interior of your kitchen/dining room into a space of living akin to an Asian fusion restaurant. As in, spend 2.5 hours obsessively cleaning everywhere. Put the remote controls in order on the coffee table, vacuum AND mop the floors, clean the bathroom approximately four hours before guests are due to arrive. Any other doors that do not lead into the kitchen, dining or loo area must be kept closed. Plump the cushions, spread that Indonesian throw over the sofa and for goodness’ sake, make sure you have good glasses, serviettes and cutlery in the drawer that must ONLY BE USED FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS.
4. Drink wine. I never used to drink wine before I hit 22. Ever, I thought it disgusting and couldn’t understand how my mum could drink a glass of the stuff. But somehow, I actually don’t mind it now. White wine that is, I will still not touch red wine with a bargepole, given the choice. When drinking wine, I suggest trying to imitate the owner of a vineyard to impress others with your vino-knowledge. “This one I find is quite oaky, with light hints of citrus, bread dough and almond. Try the Chardonnay, you may be pleasantly surprised by the notes of coconut and pear. Anyone want a top-up?” Drinking wine and learning to like it is a major milestone towards adulthood.
5. Loudly inform your friends/flatmates of your list of daily chores to show how organised and stress-free your life is. One of the things I noticed when I was little is that adults are always busy. They have places to go, things to do and people to meet. So naturally, when asked how your day is, one generally replies with, “Busy!” Then reel off a list of chores such as grocery shopping, hairdresser appointment, dog-walking, doing the laundry and renewing library books, all while waving around your leather-bound Kikki.k yearly planner in which every day is filled in. I’m more of a ‘go with the flow person’ who, on a day off, thinks, “I could do the shopping today, but I have enough food to last me until Thursday, so I’ll do it then.” To all those who manage to do this and still look great on the outside – I envy you.
6. Experiment with slightly more sophisticated musical tastes. To be an adult, one does not generally list ‘Top 40’ as a favourite sort of music. So generally, you have to look elsewhere for acceptable music tastes. I grew up with the likes of Mary Black, Bic Runga, Cat Stevens and Sting playing on CDs at home, and even now I’m a bit of an alternative person when it comes to music. So to save you time and energy, I’ve compiled a playlist of songs on Spotify of songs that I listen to now and at the same time, embody the worldly, I’ve-got-my-life-together-and-can-afford-to-play-nice-music-in-my-house-that-I-bought feeling that comes with listening to these types of songs. Check it out.
7. Master the art of small talk. Oh dear. Are all us ‘youngsters’ we all suddenly expected to host dinner parties with a full course roast dinner and on top of that, learn how to make conversations with strangers while standing round awkwardly clutching glasses of wine? I hear you ask. When you reach your late twenties, the answer is yes. Probably. And making small talk is the thing that all adults are automatically good at. Luckily, my generation is the sort where we can stand around with a group of others talking about absolutely anything that comes to mind, and nobody cares how PC (or not!) the conversation is. Also, ‘small talk’ is nowadays known as ‘banter’. So you’ll be fine.
8. Flowers and scented room spray is used. A lot. When given the opportunity, place a vase (yes, a proper vase) of flowers of the kitchen window. If you don’t have any in your garden (or don’t have a garden) then sneakily pinch some from your neighbour’s. Squirt scented room spray everywhere in your house to make it smell nice. Then stand back to admire it, and ask anyone else who happens to come into the room, “What do you think about my lovely floral display? Gorgeous, isn’t it?”
And there, I conclude, is the seven essential steps on how to be an adult. Hope you liked my list. If you ever try any of these things out, do let me know how you went. Especially the ‘using nicer names for food dishes’ one. May I inform you that tonight, I plan on doing a lovely recipe. Rice and chicken pieces combined with green beans and carrots, seasoned with a splash of soy sauce and tossed together in a wok over a low heat.
I’m sure you can all guess what I’m making.