I thought I’d be grown up by now.


circa 1989

When I was a kid, I used to think that grown ups had it all figured out. When I was little, 25 seemed ancient and 30 was well and truly over-the-hill. I’m now 27 and I seem to be barreling towards my 30s with increasing speed. Thirty doesn’t seem old anymore, in fact, it seems young. Considering some of my friends are creeping towards their forties… but these friends are also grown ups. Me? Not so much.

You know grown ups don’t you? Hell, you probably are one.

A grown up has a nice car (or even better the beautifully restored vintage beast of my dreams), a house (rented or owned and styled to perfection), a family, a career, a path in life. A grown up pays bills and has a fancy phone and has great clothes that suit their style. Don’t they?

When I imagine myself as a grown up (yes, I still imagine myself as a grown up… don’t you?) I imagine a great little cottage home with all the (preferably second hand and restored) fittings. A family friendly backyard with an organic veggie patch. A studio space for me to write and create and a space for Ni to shape boards. I imagine a sustainable income that comes from something I love. I imagine real, close and lifelong friends who share drinks and food and love. I imagine the freedom of complete lifestyle choice for my family. I imagine a closet full of beautiful vintage clothes that were cleverly thrifted and upcycled to suit the style I so wish I had the time/money/skill to develop. I imagine well balanced beautifully cooked organic meals and clever crafting.

None of these things are a reality.

I drive a bomb of a car that I bought a month ago with a substantial chip off our savings. It’s the first car I’ve had in eight years. I have lived essentially out of suitcases since I turned 20 and I don’t have any friends in the town where I live as they are scattered all across the world or they have been lost due to time and space and awful communication. I have an incomplete masters and no “real” job. I have a freelance writing business that just (barely) keeps us afloat. I have this little blog (which I love). I have a chest of drawers full of clothes I have out-grown/out-lasted/out-lived. I live in the back room at my mothers house with my daughter and soon with my surf-rat husband.Often I feel like I’m playing house.I still have no idea how to do my hair and I’m more often than not mismatched and under-dressed. I never have enough sleep. I still eat cereal for dinner some days and I still need help and I still have no idea where I’m going.

I have big dreams and a beautiful little family who I love dearly and have even bigger dreams for.ย  Shouldn’t I be grown up by now?

Facebook reminds me all to often that there are real grown ups out there. Friends and distant acquaintances with their cute little homes and their fancy jobs and their fancy meals and all their clever-ness. People with their picture-book perfect lives, lives that I don’t even want… I’ve never been a house-in-the-suburbs dreamer… but still for some reason judge myself against them. Why do we do this to ourselves??? I read blogs where the writers always seem so successful, so professional, such gorgeous photographs, such amazing lives, such perfection.

Do these people feel like grown ups?

Maybe they don’t. Maybe they doubt themselves like I do. Maybe none of us really ever have it together. One of my aims for Inked in Colour was to not be like all the other blogs. to be honest about life and marriage and womanhood (I still cringe calling myself a woman not a girl… but after pushing a baby out of my lady parts… I feel like woman it must be) and motherhood all of the doubts and fears and tears that come with it. Maybe honesty is messy.

Maybe the meaning of life is really like the bumper sticker says. All about the journey. Maybe part of the human condition is never really having it all together. Always developing. Always trying. Always comparing ourselves to each other but never really seeing that at the end of the day we are all exactly the same. Maybe I’ll still feel like this when I’m 80. And maybe that will be more than OK.

Or… maybe I’m just a mess. Or maybe not.

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  • November 23, 2012 - 12:13 pm

    laluuu - Oh, I am about to turn 33 and still don’t think I am grown up. Every now and then I have a flash of “OH MY GOD I AM AN ADULT!” but it goes pretty quickly… I do however have the car, about to have the house, but being an actual adult… well that’s still a work in progress. Maybe I’ll get there by 50?!

    Cheers to being young, Luna.ReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2012 - 9:43 am

      Sash - I’ll drink to that!ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2012 - 12:28 pm

    Louise - There is no such thing as a grown up, there are people who understand more about life due to experiences they have had or wittnessed. There are people who have simply grown older who have had little in the life experience category..Grown up to where? Up how tall, it doesn’t make sense that collective thinking, that to be grown up you have to reach a certain age. I don’t buy it anyway. I always defer to anyone, age no barrier, who has knowledge on any subject that I am interested in and have not much understanding in. So perhaps the answer is we all grow up in knowledge, each one differenly. Being older doesn’t mean easier. Having a home and car and appearing to live a ‘well rounded’ lifestyle doesn’t mean diddly squat..I say find out about who you are, by whatever means available to you and just simply grow
    with love as always

  • November 23, 2012 - 12:50 pm

    rachael edwards - Hey, to me you seem to have it pretty sussed out! I love reading your blog and being out in the Congo it’s like a life line of reality. I hope that at some point I am as good a mum to my Rosie, no one is perfect. Despite having a lovely daughter with my wonderful husband, I don’t feel grown up, sometimes I like that I’m not… Sometimes I wish I’d get it together, but we’r all working on it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 24, 2012 - 9:43 am

      Sash - Two steps forward, one step back right? Such is life! Big love to the CONGO!ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2012 - 12:57 pm

    janna - I have kids,mortgage and own a business and I still don’t feel like a grown up! Thanks for your absolute honesty I can totally relate xxReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2012 - 9:42 am

      Sash - Thanks for being here Janna! Thanks for the reassurance!ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    Lisa & Oscar - You have at least TWO friends in the town in which you live! and we think you are tops xxReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2012 - 9:42 am

      Sash - We think you both are tops too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to our adventure tomorrow!ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2012 - 3:15 pm

    J - This made me cry. Maybe it is just how I feel today. I am also 27 and my little 9 month old is crawling around my feet whining because she woke up at 4 this morning.
    I can’t do life in the burbs, so here we find ourselves in a 60s tower block in London with no job from January. Thinking, are we crazy??? We need furniture and rugs but it is going to be ikea because we have no time to hunt and no car to run around town and pick up beautiful vintage pieces.
    THANKS for being honest, because nobody’s life is perfect, and no one feels all figured out, no matter how pristine the outward image may look. Thanks Facebook for making us expert fakers and enviers!
    It is about the journey but more than hat it’s about the people, about the relationships and the love, and by the sounds of it you have no shortage of love!ReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2012 - 9:42 am

      Sash - You are welcome! THANKS for being here! Fakebook is awesome and awful all at once isn’t it? There is no shortage of love here… shortage of everything else but that’s ok. Your tower block sounds amazing. MUCH better than lego land, where every little house looks the same!ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2012 - 4:45 pm

    Cassie Nguyen - I think most people look at the lives of others with a bit of envy for something, an envy that often remains unspoken. I love that saying about if the grass seems greener on the other side, it’s probably astroturf! I think that about those picture perfect blogs/houses/lifestyles. I often sit wondering how I can make photos of my REAL life look appealing for my blog. The washing. The crumbs on the rug. The toilet paper roll toys half chewed under the kitchen table. Archie in mismatching hand-me-down clothes that might not match but do their job of clothing him… Those are the pictures I don’t seem to take, the ones that stay in my private mind’s eye and not on my blog…

    I love the idea that part of the human condition is not having it together. I think that’s what makes me keep going a lot of the time. Working towards getting it together. Which is why so often we need to remind each other to stop, look around, and breathe in the togetherness of what we already have. Because it’s so, so much! And I’d rather have all of this and feel like a teenager in a almost-30 mama body, than none of it with all the rest. ๐Ÿ™‚ xReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2012 - 9:41 am

      Sash - There is something to be said for the private minds eye isn’t there? I just wish some of that was more public… so that we could all feel more like we are all in this together and less like holy hell how DOES SHE DO IT?!ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2012 - 7:18 pm

    aliciabetts - I don’t usually comment on the blogs I read, but I’ve already commented on yours quite a few times, I guess you always manage to get me thinking and wanting to have a chat with you!
    Anyway, I am 32, have a mortgage (terrible thing to do, by the way!), a 14 month old boy, a permanent job and a partner in crime (we are not married)… but all these things, despite being a very important part of my life, especially my two boys, are not my life. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, where I want to live or if I want to be a vegetarian or not, I am still looking for a style that I feel comfortable with, still prefer to lay down on a sofa instead of sitting, I still like chocolate milk much more than coffee and prefer to be on the floor playing with kids rather than sitting at the “grown up table” on family gatherings, I dream of finding myself, of studying abroad (again) so that I can gain the experience needed to grow up and find a job that I identify with… and I could go on and on. I have decided, however, that most of us really never “grow up” as the general idea of what a grown up should be, should feel like. And I am actually really happy because it means life is still full of wonderful surprises, adventures, travels, changes and learning processes. Life is not under control, but… we would be missing out on so much if we did control it!

    Cheers to you!ReplyCancel

    • November 24, 2012 - 9:39 am

      Sash - True that! Life certainly is surprising! Relinquish control! Thank you for commenting here. It’s so nice to have you in this space! xx (how awesome is chocolate milk?)ReplyCancel

  • November 25, 2012 - 1:15 am

    Olga - Ha ha… your 27 self sound like 27 myself 9 years ago. At 27 I just moved continents and was staying with my mom (after leaving home at 15), had no job, no friends and all the rest of the challenges you are facing (minus the baby but plus a dog). Now I am 36 and I am a grown up by your definition — right down to the restored designer couch from the 50s and a veggie patch. Hold on tight, you’ll get there. I think most people are only coming into their own in their 30s or even 40s, so 27 is very young to worry about “not making it”. (that doesn’t mean, that when you do “make it” your definition of “making it” won’t change.. it might)ReplyCancel

  • November 25, 2012 - 9:48 pm

    erica @ expatria, baby - I don’t think I became a grown up until somewhere around, um two months ago. It happened when I finally started buying furniture, wanting to decorate my apartment, and hatching ideas for business ventures. Which, when I write it all down, sort of makes me want to punch myself, but really. One day I was galavanting around the world, spending all my money on nights out and ridiculous outfits, then I had a baby, and still felt like a baby, and then suddenly, bam. Dining room tables and entrepreneurial dreams.
    I guess what I’m saying is that you just put your feet on the ground, one after the other, and you keep going, driving that jalopy, dreaming of cottages and kitchen gardens and then suddenly you find out where you’re headed and maybe it’s what you dreamed, maybe it’s something you never dreamed, but it all makes sense and then you’re there and you’re grown.

  • November 26, 2012 - 10:57 pm

    Lisa - Wanna hear something good? I’m 29, an unfinished bachelor’s degree, living back home with my mother after living on my own for 15 years, dreaming a lot, arriving at not so much, some hard core adventures under my belt…and now an almost one-year-old in tow, the father being an almost complete stranger. Talk about not being grown up.
    I have no partner, no house, no car, no job. I have just me, my undying hope and my little love. Now I’m slowly detangling the chaos that was my life.
    I love your blog so much for posts like this because I struggle a lot where to position myself as a mother in this world. I still look very young and I get mistaken for a teen mom very often. I see myself as a teen mom some of the time even though I know I’m a better, more educated, more instinctual mother than a lot of the married 30-somethings in this provincial town where I live now. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never live up to my own image of what a mother should look like, compared to that I always come off like a punk. A teen punk mom. One of my greatest wishes would be to get to know other women (yes, I still find it awkward to call myself a woman, too) who are not Stepford wives but real edgy females who happen to be mothers also.
    I wonder about your mother? How is your relationship? Does she still see you as a child or do you live like distant roommates? I have lots of problems with my mother because she is probably the first to call me a non-adult and instead of encouraging me I have to prove myself to her every single day that I am fit to mother this beautiful person that came out of MY body. It makes me sad but I guess that’s the price you have to pay for procreating before getting down all the other adult stuff that this society thinks is the norm.
    I’m not against a more well-planned approach to making babies as I had, but if people made procreating less of a thought out decision and it would be just happening more, children would live along adults in much more varied forms than just the nuclear family. It would just be normal to be a woman (or man) with hopes, dreams, strengths and shortcomings and have a child in your life. That would be nice.ReplyCancel

    • November 27, 2012 - 6:59 am

      Sash - Lisa… you’re awesome. Thank you for this!! You are an awful lot like me it would seem. Keep on keeping on! We both know that our situation is temporary and is a platform to bigger and better things… now just to find the springboard… xReplyCancel

  • November 27, 2012 - 12:07 am

    Tamsin Michelle - I think you’re amazing Sash, just look at how popular your blog has become in so little time – who needs a mortgage, 9-5 job and a white picket fence? Being grown up shouldn’t be defined by these things (how boooring)…it’s all about how you feel within….how you’ve grown over the years, how wise and understanding and tolerant you’ve become in time..these are all important traits – it’s the important things deep within the soul that will ever only truly matter. I think you’ve got it all sussed out..just keep loving doing what you do and the rest will follow. Only love! xxxxxReplyCancel

    • November 27, 2012 - 6:59 am

      Sash - Thanks Tamsin. xx So much kindness xxReplyCancel

  • December 1, 2012 - 4:10 pm

    Bettina - After I had my boy, I had the thought, oh does this mean I’m a grown up now!? But I don’t know why having kids would make you a grow up. I do more stupid things now just to see that toothy grin, than I ever had before!ReplyCancel

  • December 11, 2012 - 11:21 pm

    juneofthemoon - Just stumble across your blog and I can relate to this sooooo much. I have a lot of the “grown up” trappings (mortgage, great paying job, husband, two kids, dog, etc) but I STILL don’t feel like a grown up. I mean, what more could I possibly do to make that feeling happen?

    I don’t have life figured out and I know I’m not on the path I want to be on. But I’m on a good path, full of love and family. I am also 27 and sometimes still think I’m 19. I constantly examine my feelings (yeah, my house looks NOTHING like hers, but if it did, would I REALLY find that fulfilling???)

    It’s a journey. And I am currently in the midst quarterish life crisis. And I’m ok with that. I’m going to ride it, search my soul, try and figure out what I need. I truly hope that through all of the hardships in your life you don’t lose sight of yourself. YOU deserve to be cared for, even if it you feel like you’re the only one doing it. ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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