Sometimes I reflect back on the 21 year old me. It certainly feels like a long time ago, and I was 100% a different person. In fact, I can honestly say that there is nothing about my 21 year old self that I actually like and I’m surprised that any of the friends I had in those days could actually have liked me.
Nowadays, people often say “you’ve changed, you used to be so much more outgoing” … I don’t think its a bad thing to shut the hell up every once in awhile. As a child I was always an annoying loudmouth attention-seeker, why is it such a bad thing that now I can go somewhere, sit in the corner, and not say much? I definitely prefer who I am today – even if others think I am “depressed”(not true) or “quiet” (somewhat true).
What caused such a drastic change, you ask? Ah. I attribute this to various forms of what we like to call “Growing Up”. This phenomenon is one of the strangest things, when somehow you find yourself “getting an early night”, “knowing what day is rubbish day” and “making vegetables to go with your dinner because it would be absurd to not have vegetables”.
For some, Growing Up is something that happens gradually and takes them unawares, popping out rudely to say hello when you realise, mid-way through adding fabric softener to your washing, that you are using your mum’s brand (and recognise it as such). Other people claim that it happened overnight for them, often in coalition with some variant of trauma, where their priorities shifted whilst sleeping. Me, I just got sick of the person I was and the repeated mistakes I was making. Shit got old real fast (as did I) and I wanted to be a better person. Although there was no way of undoing the more stupid things I did back then, the next best thing was to learn from them and change accordingly – even if it did lead people to assume I was “becoming withdrawn”. Its important for people to understand that if someone chooses not to be an arrogant loudmouth anymore, please do not assume that they are no longer the fun-loving person they once were, or that they are severely depressed. Maybe this is just how they really are and they like it that way (I am actually an INFJ for the record)
Anyway, here is my advice on Growing Up for those that want to take it step-by-step and still retain their youthful, devil-may-care reputation…..
1. Learn to cook. And no, I don’t mean learn how to make a roast every Sunday. I’m talking about not eating Subway every day for the rest of your life. I manage to eat a balanced meal of meat and vegetables most nights, all the while barely lifting a finger. Here’s how: Buy a George Foreman grill (or whatever generic brand one you can lay your strong hand on) and then go to the supermarket. Get those steamfresh microwave vegetables, 150g chicken and some mushrooms. At home, in a bowl place the following: chicken, 2 large flat mushrooms and any liquids you can find in your pantry or fridge, and alcohol counts. The best chicken I ever made included a forgotten can of Gizzy chardonnay. It’s so easy to forget about cans. Leave the bowl full of stuff in the fridge. In 45 minutes, turn on the GF grill, theres often only one heat setting so you cant even get confused about that. Stick the chicken and shrooms on the grill and leave it. Don’t be tempted to turn it and don’t worry it wont burn cos of all the moisture that it has from your homemade marinade. When you reckon the chicken and mushrooms are done, turn off the grill and stick the vegies in the microwave. When they are done (usually 3 mins) pour them out of the plastic bag onto your plate and then add the chicken and mushroom. Voila a healthy half meat and half vegetable dinner that takes bugger-all time. I don’t do potatoes cos I don’t know how to and also don’t see the point as I work out at night time and don’t want the extra carbs.
Now that you can satisfactorily make yourself a meal,
2. Do the laundry properly. Set aside an extra 5 minutes a day to be a LaundroMan. All this means is that if you hung out washing in the last 24 hours, bring it in and actually put it in a drawer. In the past, some of my best clothes have been ruined by sun fading for leaving them on the line for weeks. Wash your towels all together as often as you can. This is all, no science necessary.
3. Be nice to your flatmates, we aren’t in uni sharing a house with 8 people anymore and it’s definitely not acceptable to put people’s dirty dishes on their bed unless you want to be responsible for your flatmates having an ant problem in their room. If it’s only a rare occurance, suck it up and just do their dishes/bring in their washing – its only once and won’t kill you. Its important that if you do this, do it without snide remarks or complaining. Be the bigger person for once in your life, there are more pressing matters in this world than you having to do a once-off chore for someone else.
4. Try going to a social event without drinking. To be honest, I’ve only done this a few times, but the next day trade-off is fantastic. Imagine being able to eat normal food and work out on a Sunday, instead of feeling shit and eating rubbish all day!
5. Get real about employment. If you are unskilled (no qualification or trade) then expect to be paid close to minimum wage. Your boss doesn’t owe you anything other than to pay you for what you’re worth, and if you can’t be assed getting any skills, expect to be paid in a way that reflects this. I get paid fuck-all to scan microfiche all day because its monkey work, but I don’t complain about my pay because it really is all I am worth to them – in fact, they are probably slightly generous to me. I have found that when I was younger, I truly thought I was indispensable and that every employer should be lucky to have me work for them, but man I was dumb! Try putting yourself in your bosses shoes. Would you pay yourself more? Answer that honestly, not what you want to be paid.
6. Get up at 9am on a weekend day, its doesn’t have to be both days, but see how much more of a day you get out of it. So much spare time!!! Perhaps this is the time to put away all your shit so you’re not spending the rest of the week feeling stressed about “not having enough time to clean up”
7. Stop loitering – anywhere. People that hang around shopping centres purposelessly are redonkulous.
8. Remember people’s birthdays and either call them or text them, DO NOT SEND A FACEBOOK COMMENT. It just shows that you don’t really care about them, but you were on facebook and saw it was their birthday.
9. Try to stop sending generic group texts on Christmas Day/ New Years Eve. If you really care for someone, send them a personal message, if you don’t then chances are they don’t give a shit if you don’t send them some generic message anyway. I didn’t respond to any generic group texts on Christmas Day or NYE and guess what? I didn’t lose any friends.
10. Drink water instead of soft drink. I used to be a 2L of diet coke a day girl and all I got for it was water retention, feelings of bloatedness, bad skin and tiredness. Seriously, if there is one thing you’re prepared to do different each day, swap the fizz for water. It might be crap at first but you’ll get used to it quickly. If I can do it, anyone can.
11. Drinking a bottle of wine every day is not necessary!
So there you have it, some easy ways to become a more mature person without losing your sense of unique self.
Love Chelle xoxoxoxoxoxoox