Annabel Rivkin & Em­i­lie Mcmeekan

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - The Midults’ Guide To… Being A Grown-up -

HOW DO YOU KNOW when you are a grown-up? Is it the wis­dom and the seren­ity? The per­spec­tive and the au­thor­ity? The abil­ity to cope and si­mul­ta­ne­ously still grow? The ef­fi­cient pro­cess­ing of emo­tion com­bined with a metic­u­lously mea­sured em­pa­thy mus­cle? The fa­cil­ity to re­frain from judge­ment and yet ob­jec­tively ob­serve with a ma­ture in­ci­sive­ness? Ob­vi­ously not. And yet, some­times you are re­minded you are one of the grownups when things like this hap­pen…

You an­swer an 11pm text at 6am. You thought it was prob­a­bly too early to an­swer when you first read it at 4.51am. You thought that might make you look a bit mad. God for­bid.

You don’t give ex­cuses. Do you re­mem­ber the old days, when you used to con­coct ex­trav­a­gant lies about dead grand­moth­ers and dead­lines and nieces’ bal­let per­for­mances? Now you just say, ‘Sorry, I can’t make it.’ Zero ex­cuses.

You talk on your phone while si­mul­ta­ne­ously look­ing for it. ‘WHERE THE HELL IS MY… Oh, there it is.’

You carry plas­ters. Once you would have dealt with a cut or scrape with mask­ing tape or vodka. Now you have plas­ters in all shapes and sizes. Even those blis­ter ones. In your first-aid kit. And you have a tool­kit. And a hol­i­day emer­gency kit. And an es­cape kit. And

prob­a­bly some kind of dusty bak­ing kit, some­where.

You tell peo­ple to move along in­side rush-hour train car­riages.

You do not bow down to ev­ery­day ill­nesses. ‘Strep throat? Give me half an hour in bed, a pre­scrip­tion for Aug­mentin and a tube of Ty­rozets, and I’ll be back on it, on top of it, all over it, within a cou­ple of hours.’ Be­cause who can af­ford to be ill?

You fancy Robert Red­ford. ‘Oh, I get it now.’

When some­one tells you they went out un­til 2am, you have a melange of

feel­ings. First, jeal­ousy: how on earth did they man­age to stay up so late? Sec­ond, sym­pa­thy: they must be so tired. Dev­as­tated. Be gen­tle with them. Third, ex­cite­ment: maybe it is pos­si­ble, re­ally pos­si­ble, to stay up past 10pm.

You have 400,000 Bags for Life in the

boot of your car.

You write down EV­ERY­THING. You also have alerts on your phone that ping con­stantly. ‘Car in­sur­ance.’ ‘Milk.’ ‘Money for cleaner.’ ‘Bras.’ Most of the time you for­get what they mean.

You give great re­la­tion­ship ad­vice. All that ‘ex­pe­ri­ence’ is fi­nally com­ing into play… al­beit for other peo­ple.

If the wash­ing ma­chine breaks down, you break down.

You lis­ten to chant­ing on your noise­can­celling head­phones so you can drown out the of­fice gos­sip. You have work to do.

Your lap­top is in­sured.

You re-read books all the time. Some­times this is on pur­pose, like vis­it­ing an old friend. Some­times it’s just be­cause you’ve for­got­ten you ever read it in the first place.

You fol­low recipes. And when they say, ‘Now zest your lime,’ you calmly reach into your kitchen drawer for your zester. Which is next to the egg poacher and an ar­ray of tongs in dif­fer­ent sizes.

You men­tally cal­cu­late how much time you are go­ing to have to spend walk­ing in heels ver­sus stand­ing in heels ver­sus sit­ting in heels.

You care about light­ing in ho­tels. And light­ing in bath­rooms. And light­ing in gen­eral. And you’re not at all sure if day­light is your friend any more.

You’ve started hold­ing your menus re­ally far away from you, and then slowly bring­ing them closer. But you do not need glasses.

You talk on your phone while si­mul­ta­ne­ously look­ing for it. ‘WHERE THE HELL IS MY… Oh, there it is’

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