One day you wake and you realise you have changed, really changed. It’s not the big noticeable change such as height or weight gain, it’s the small ways in which the definition of what you want out of life has changed. It takes you time to acknowledge this. Everything you ever thought you wanted or needed just isn’t it. Even worse, the things you swore off as ridiculous or never thought of are the very things that make you feel alive. You feel betrayed by yourself.
Welcome to being an adult.
I woke up one day only to realise I have grown up. As you can imagine, I was surprised. In hindsight it was obvious given all the signs, the old people habits I had been acquiring. Let me give you an example; bathing.
If there is one thing that reinforced my parents stand as the adults while growing up, it would be their habit of bathing everyday before going to bed. I never really quite got it. They would all come back from work complaining of how tired they were, how demanding their day had been. But even in their tired state, they never forgot to ask (or warn), “madzi osamba mwayika?” Why couldn’t they sleep without bathing like the rest of us if they were as tired as they claimed? On my end, the extra task of boiling their hot water in a kettle or mbaula wasn’t my ideal evening plan. So you see, it should have been obvious looking at my recent past, how all I look forward to in my evenings is shower time, that I am growing up. That and how I now love avocados. Inde ndithu, I also now love avocados. wow.
It might seem trivial how my growing up is now being defined by my love of bathing and avocados. And maybe it is. But these are some of the small visible ways in which I can describe my growth to someone else. For the most part, growing up is an abstract concept that is best felt.
I have heard many times that when you grow up you don’t care about much anymore. ”Public opinion can go to hell”, they say. I agree. But I choose to see growing up more as a distillation process. When you are young there is so much pleasing you try to achieve. You do what is expected of you. You enjoy the extremes because you think life can only be enjoyed in extremes. So you eat only sweet biscuits because why would I eat crackers that have salt? By they time you are in your late twenties you are tired of performing. So you meet your friends without makeup. You no longer rush to go put on your wig when your friends are coming because man, they will get what they get.
Incase you didn’t catch it, I also do love crackers now. And maybe my change of taste in food is symbolic of the changes in other areas of my life. Take love for instance. When you are young love is all about extravagance, ”I will go to the ends of the earth for you”. I really don’t know why we say some of the things we say. First of all, the earth is round and has no end. Second, maybe we can go to an actual place like Zanzibar, I don’t know. When you are young you want fast love, love that comes as a whirlwind. But whirlwinds go as fast as they come and only leave devastation behind.
As you grow you also realise the importance of family and friends. How much they really hold you down. Sometimes I feel a little discomfort when people are ridiculed for staying with their parents “at their big age”. How are we so blind to see such an obvious blessing? They have parents. Let that sink. When it comes to friends, man, I would not survive without them. Okay maybe that is being extravagant (old habits). I would survive but life would be boring without them.
Growing up introduces you to you. Or in my case, a happy- shower loving- avocado eating lady.