Being an adult often means not being a savage. Like the Orcs or the dementors. No one prepared me to be an adult. They, however, taught me everything from the periodic table to the definition of a peninsula, from trigonometry to the capitals of cities. Sigh! Yes, adults sigh a lot. Oh they lie, if they say they don’t. At 35, you can pick up your licence to give advice to all and sundry. Here are some of my lessons as an award-winning, double Ph.D., industry-certified adult.
Special shout-out to the ONLY adult I respect. My grandmother, she’s taught me to be fiercely me, to speak my mind unabashedly and without filter, to love conditionally and best of all taught me it’s never to late to pick up the paintbrush.
· I have to earn an honest living. I have got to work a job that makes me glad when I get there. Something that challenges me. A workplace that isn’t toxic but nurturing and kind-hearted. I have to have the courage and the confidence to leave if it makes me unhappy, but I have to leave value behind.
· Iron your clothes, yes even the boxers and tees you wear at home. It costs 7 inr to get a piece ironed. I wear two sets of clothes daily. Annually what I spend on iron bhaiya is equal to three small Belvederes on ice at Aer.
· Wipe the dishes before shelving them. Yes, even if you air-dry them, they still need a wipe down. The cloth you wipe it with needs to be washed, twice a week.
· Water the plants. If they die, you’ve got to say a prayer and trash them in the dead of night. Wash the dustbin once a week even though I line it with organic and decomposable bin liners. You may choose to put a clothes clip on your nose and an industrial-grade hazmat suit on.
· Troubleshoot everything on Google before calling a professional and spending money. (From mental health to leaking faucets, from finding a friend’s mom a hospital bed to what’s the ratio of butter and baking soda in a recipe- first try and do it yourself).
· File your taxes or leave the country. Get someone to do it for you. Note to self – Don’t fight your father when he insists you continue holding integrity throughout the process.
· Pay the staff on time. Every single time. They make your life as an adult tolerable, be extra kind to them and theirs.
· Drink less wine. Seriously drink less wine. It’s just not good for your liver or your sanity (in the long run).
· Govt. websites will flummox you. From adoption websites to vaccine registration. Often and undoubtedly. Practice patience and grit through it. Don’t give up. Don’t give in to bad language or violence.
· Myths. We’re surrounded by them. Pick the ones you want to push off a skyscraper and then laugh at its smashed, bloody entrails!
Myths I’ve murdered:
- a life partner is the only way to a fulfilling life
- pick AND stick to a career/do a master’s/get an MBA
- men can’t/shouldn’t/mustn’t/wouldn’t
- For Mercy, Money, Forgiveness.
- For time off. For another helping. For an appointment.
- May I kiss you?. Someone to leave. For help.
- For accountability. Their pronouns. For permission.
- Them to wear masks correctly.
· Stop it. Right away. Or continue suffering. Pity parties, Hating, Wallowing, Overeating, Excuses, Hiding.
- In art. Surrounding myself with art has been my salvation.
- In children. We can’t have kids become adults like us, we’ve got to make better versions of us.
- In stocks. Took me long enough to accept that everything that’s low risk is low returns.
- In time for/with those you love. Do It Now. They might be dead before your next call, visit, text, dinner party, drink date.
· The definition of a best friend is henceforth this. “Would they help you hide a dead body”
· The most important list is henceforth this. You’re welcome, I’ve just made decision making a skippty-jump through a lavender field on a warm day. Make your own, for a perfect adult-hood experience.
Wants – sunshine and no rain, homemade jam, a clean home, to stay out of prison, universal healthcare, balanced Chakras.
Needs – wifi, air-conditioning, red wine (14 degrees, served in a large goblet), a smarter Siri.
Desires – buy art at a Sotheby’s auction, grow old with a child to carry on my legacy, a silent and swift death, silk pajamas and expensive slippers, to be a famous artist.
· Create MORE than you consume. Stop taking from the universe, contribute back, produce, create. Share. Food and laughs and art and reading lists and Netflix recommendations and Reels and solicited counsel and tips to make plants flourish, and home decor finds and JDs and fond memories and family photos and recipes.
· Activities to do in strict privacy – Judging Others.
Do it in your head, alone, never on Twitter, never on a family group chat, never with others. Maybe sometimes, but fall on your knees and repent soon after, or you’ll end up disco-dancing in hell, with Satan and me.
· Cleanse your damn chakras, if an invisible contagion can bring death and grief, so can bad energy, purge your bedroom with scents and smoke, cleanse your home with incense and smudge, but most of all protect your body (along with your soul that lives within it) with meditation, metabolism, and magic.