I moved out in March. I wrote about it when I was some 2 weeks in our blissful convivial stage. Mind you, it’s still the best thing to have ever happened, but 5 months give you enough time to go through things, to have succeeded at some and failed at others and to feel dog-tired but confused about how you can be happy when all you want to do is sleep.
Someone once told me that adulthood is paperwork, debts and a lot of wine. I have to say that’s pretty much on point. To me, adulthood is not some threshold you cross when you’re 21 or whatever random age. Adulthood begins the moment you start shouldering responsibilities related to your independent well-being. In other words, it’s the moment you start paying bills and repaying loans, cooking, cleaning, thinking ahead, grocery shopping – safe in the knowledge that if you, or your partner, don’t do it, no one will. And that, for most, starts when you leave the safe nest of your parents’ home. At least it did for me.
WHO TOOK THE GARBAGE OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE?!
Yep, it’s not easy as many of you out there can testify for yourself. Whether you’re living alone or with a partner or friend, everyday brings with it sweet challenges. Sometimes, I find it hard to keep oozing positivity when all I want to do first thing in the morning is to strangle my neighbour for having left the garbage out the night before, and now the pavement is strewn with fish bones and other less favourable delicacies. Jes** C****
I felt like I needed to let out some steam here and write about all the little, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic things which I’ve learned over the past few months (and I don’t even have kids %^%%EDITORCONTENT%%amp; !). Hopefully some of this rings a bell with you and I’m not alone in this.
Oh and yes, it does get better after this list 🙂 Here we go;
- Plants. It’s like having silent babies. You need to take good care of them or they start acting out and they only give you subtle hints about what might be wrong with them. Google really helps (not) with letting you know your plant is stressed either because a) it is under watered, b) it is overwatered, c) It does not have enough light d) it has too much direct sunlight e) Climate change f) it’s missing a whole bunch of nutrients but giving them too much of some can kill them too. I am know desperate enough to spend time talking to them. Apparently that helps too.
- Remembering to take out the garbage – the right sort of garbage. When do they pick up the glass? Was it the last Friday of the month or the first? Why do I even write these things in my diary when I forget to look them up in the morning?
- Planning your meals. It was so much fun in the beginning. Now you just have no time for it and you just chuck anything you think you might need in the trolley at the supermarket, hoping you’ve got it all. Admittedly, this gets much easier with time.
- Laundry. Is the dress I’m wearing at that party actually clean? Or had I thrown it back in the closet without really assessing the damage? Can I fit it with another load? U iva – colour catcher filkas.
- The brand new pair of trousers which ripped at the seams around the knee (how could you betray me like that?) and has been awaiting treatment for a month on THE chair. Until you pity its forlorn state or you really have nothing else to wear.
- After sales service for literally anything you buy around the house. “We ordered this 6 months ago, how can it not be here yet?”, and “Oh so you have it in stock again and failed to let us know AFTER WE SENT IT BACK BECAUSE IT WAS DAMAGED?” 1 star rating on Facebook mela hux.
- The hair – oh the hair. And I thought my cats were bad in Summer. I’d have fashioned an amazing wig had I collected every single hair I picked up. It takes seconds, literally seconds for the damned things to show up unashamedly after a 4 hour cleaning session on the pale tiles, where they promptly stand out in all their dark glory. I hate you.
- I’m a woman so that naturally brings with it certain expectations (whenever I bother, which is rare); hair, nails, waxing, eyebrow shaping, gym. And then it’s a crusade trying to find an available slot with your hairdresser/beautician which isn’t 3 months from today.
Let us not forget the 8-5 job and all the other odd jobs one takes to keep the wheel turning and to be able to take a holiday somewhere far, exotic and which probably ends too soon. Oh, and family visits, dinners and drinks with friends, etc etc.
Have I said it’s tiring? Yeah, I must have, somewhere.
BUT, and there’s a huge BUT here, in case you weren’t expecting it after all that gloom and doom. Going back home, to YOUR home, after a dinner with friends or after a long day at work, is something I’ve come to love and cherish.
The familiar smell of home, whatever that might be. It eases all the negative vibes you might have carried around with you during the day.
The fresh smell of laundry.
Dinners in the evening and a glass of wine to end the day.
The comfortable silence which envelopes you.
Putting on music according to your mood. Chillout, Jazz, Lana del Rey, with no one complaining “kemm se teqred din!” in the background.
Starting a new book while you’re curled up on the sofa, or watching GoT with no one interrupting the awkward scenes when you’d just want to slip through the cushions of the sofa and die.
Chatting away until twilight deepens. Then in Summer, fireworks from your balcony during Santa Marija.
And if you’re sharing the space with someone you love, then it’s that much better.
Adulthood is not the charming tale we portray on Instagram and not every day is the picture perfect shot from that account you follow. It probably never is. But it does concede moments of extreme happiness, simple moments like sitting on your sofa chatting to someone you care about, sharing your dreams and plans. The kind of feeling which makes you feel full, like your face can’t contain the smile bursting to spread. That’s extreme happiness for me. THAT makes it all worthwhile.
Nobody said it was easy. Good things rarely are. It takes up much of your energy to keep up a healthy balance, to make time for work, family, life in general and yourself most of all. Millions have experienced this before us and millions will keep doing it long after we’re gone. It might shock you at first, the amount of work which seems to pile up, unbidden, but don’t worry. You’ll ease into a routine, you’ll stop fussing about things you can’t control (bis-serjeta? Issa ghamlet ix-xita? Wara li hsilt it-twieqi li kienu ilhom mahmugin xhur?) and if you’re living with someone else, you’ll find ways to complement each other.
Don’t neglect yourself though. Take a long bath if you feel like it. The dishes can wait.
Plan the fun stuff ahead if you feel like you never have time for them and be disciplined enough with yourself to follow them through.
I honestly thought I’d have more time on my hands once I had my own place and I’d stop travelling to and from houses. I was wrong, and while it was slightly nerve-wrecking at first, it was and still is the best time of my life so far.
Some of my personal Life Hacks might come in handy:
- The Vileda sweeper works miracles on collecting stray hair. (THANK YOU ELAINE!)
- Plants actually suffer during heat waves too. You’re not a bad parent, they’re just doing their best to acclimatise themselves better. Try ticking off variables (increase light, water less or more, etc) until you reach your own conclusion. And buy low-maintenance plants to practice first.
- A notice board somewhere in the kitchen with lots of !!!! next to notes may help you remember stuff better. May. I take no responsibility if effects desired are not attained.
- Don’t be scared to ask for help. If you live with someone, it might not be apparent for them that you’re struggling if you try to take everything in your stride.
- Give yourself a pat on the back after a productive day. And pour yourself another glass of wine. You deserve it.