Friday, November 18


I have just returned from a delicious few days holidaying on the Peninsula with my hubby. The sun shone, the sand was perfectly crumbly, and the food complimented the views. Even my body was considerate to me, despite the lack of sleep, exercise and diet. We had time to wander, and lie on the beach for hours (and moisturise our pink tender wounds), and day we were looking back at all the practical disasters we’ve had this year, as we’ve ‘adjusted’ to being grownups. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. 

Out evening stroll along the beach...
About two to three times per week for our whole married life I’ve said to Ben, “I just wish I was a little girl again.” Anything but being an adult would suit me. I’m not really sure if my being well would alter these thoughts because I became sick at 18, which is pretty much the start of my adult life. As I have never asked anyone else if they wish they were children again too, I am ignorant as to whether these feelings are common or absurd.
My childhood best friend always wanted to grow up, but I was perfectly content with being a kid. I had grave fears about all kinds of adult things. Once when I was small, my brother and I had to share a double bed when we stayed the night somewhere. I knew that if a man and a woman slept in the same bed, the woman might get pregnant - and I was very concerned that lying next to him would result in my conceiving. What a fearful night! A few years on and I used to lie awake worrying about how to get a job when I was an adult. Could I just walk in and ask for one? And if I had to write a thesis one day, how would I conceive an untouched topic? I was sure I’d be bereft of ideas. {Perhaps this is the unique concern of children with a parent writing a PhD}.
 And actually, I don’t look back and laugh at those ‘childish’ concerns – because, my oh my, I have found life to be just as complicated as I feared, if not a little more. Maybe some people do slip gracefully into adult life – but not I. I have taken my clumsiness right along into this next stage. Of course, I am but a mere 20 year old and there’s a chance I will adjust in the coming decades.
I moved out of home when I had just turned 18, a thoroughly respectable age, though I returned every weekend... But I shall make a confession. I used to feel quite proud of myself if I managed to get to university of a morning, dressed, fed, and with phone, wallet and keys. It blew me away that I was capable of cooking, washing and studying! I should qualify that I cooked one big meal once a week, I took most of my washing home, and phoned dad whenever there was a problem. I managed to lose my phone on the train. But my then boyfriend came and rescued it. I was harassed on the train, but then I called my dad. I left my flat keys at home, but then my flat mate let me in. I forgot to report to centrelink, but then I went in and restored it. Yes, there were issues, but overall I didn’t make a complete fool of myself.
Married. I really thought that my year out of home had prepared me for it. First there was us owning our first car, our darling Brum, who is older than us. Ben does most of the driving owing to my legitimate fatigue, and my fear of speed {by speed, I mean anything faster than 50kph}. I hate to admit it, but we have had the call the RACV no less than 7 times in the past year. Seven. Admittedly, one of those instances was a legitimate break down. The rest were owner error. Keys locked in the car, Ben’s favourite. He likes to apply that one to rainy days so that we get to hug each other under a tree for 2 hours straight. Lights left on. That’s a favourite for rainy days also, or prolonging evening dates. Running out of fuel in the middle of a three-lane round about... This is excellent for extreme humiliation and dreaming of holes in the ground.  I added to our car disasters a parking fine – I only overstayed by 3 hours, but hey. Fortunately, my letter of apology was accepted and although I shouldn’t “expect such lenient treatment in future”, we were let off. 

Our rental really was going well for a while there. We payed our rent every month. We cleaned the house for inspections. Then I felt the urge for an indoor furry friend and chose one with destructive qualities hidden behind the floppy ears. Winter Joy. But we never say the ‘Joy’ part because that just isn’t an appropriate name for her. I convinced the real estate agents that rabbits really were so very small and docile they couldn’t harm a fly, wouldn’t make a noise, and that she would be supervised at all times. {I believed all I wrote at that time}. She soon decided that bathroom door, kitchen skirtings, borrowed books, furniture, cords.....and worst of all, flawless curtains were more satisfactory foods than hay and carrot. She is the craftiest of creatures and sneaks out unawares to do her naughties.  Oh the mortification!!
The first time we had a couple in for dinner – well that was awkward. The meal was really not as good as hoped, we dished up by slopping food all over the plate and table, and I forgot to offer them drinks because I was so busy talking. Still trying to figure out how to be a hostess, it’s really must be something you learn. I have found a couple of “absolutely delicious recipes on the internet” as I told Ben, and with huge enthusiasm tried to cook them. When Ben sits there silently and then says, “It’s interesting,” I know there is something wrong. Disgusting. A burnt tea towel here and there, me dropping everything, and the oven left on overnight twice.
Other incidents include the gardener who gave me an earful about my overgrown garden (when I was so sick and didn’t know that tenants had to garden).....and my resultant crying in the bathroom to hide from him. Feeling awfully uncomfortable when we stayed in our first hotel, with no idea what to do - We were so out of place. Never knowing what to write to official people and friends when it comes to tricky issues.
The amount of times I’ve wanted to curl up in a ball and come out a few years later when all has been forgotten is uncountable! It’s all incredibly complicated; every new situation I feel like I’m drowning. Ben says this to me when I am overwhelmed by how complex it all is:
Firsts are always hard, but seconds are better.
And it’s true. We haven’t had a car mistake for ages, or a bad meal...I’m practicing the hostess thing. I’m gradually (as in, handicapped snail pace) learning not to take people’s comments personally. Every time we have a 2nd or a 3rd chance at something it’s ever so slightly better than that first mind shuddering time. And sometimes we get past our embarrassment and just laugh it off which definitely alleviates some pain.  
The other wise thing that Ben reminds me of when I am in one of my, “I wish I was a little girl” moods is that if I were a little girl, I couldn’t live with the man I love, or have adult relationships, or enjoy responsibilities. I’m not in Neverland, and when I am in rational unmortified state, I do truly like being a grown up. Never ever give up!

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