Adulting.

The first voice note I sent as 2020 came to its long awaited close and we rolled into the early hours of 2021 was not a drunken profession of love, nor was it some endless ramblings and reflection on the past year, it wasn’t even an overly enthusiastic Happy New Year message to someone I definitely should not be messaging after consuming that much champagne. It was to my flatmate, at 2am, loudly announcing my concern that we’d forgotten to pay our council tax before we came home for Christmas. And with that message, and a painful hangover, I realised that in a kind of messy, not always on top of it and very unexpected way, I had become an adult (ish). I know that actually having remembered to pay our council tax would have been the more grown up thing to do, but we’re getting there, small steps.

I’ve been thinking about this more since I came back to London. Home was full of too much food, positive covid tests and a sort of scraping the barrel attempt at festivities. Despite the strangeness, you can always rely on family dynamics and the characterstics of the people you’ve grown up with to come through. Somehow, whenever we come together, we seem to resort to our childish tendencies, regardless of how old we get. When I’m in Bedford I find myself toeing that blurry fine line of adult and childhood that seems to appear in your early twenties. I’ll cook complicated full meals for my family and yet nothing makes me feel more like I’m 15 again than when my sister winds me up so much that I lose control of my temper. I’ll pour a glass of wine to sit and watch Grand Designs on a weeknight but will spend the ad breaks moaning to my mum about how much time my brother spends in the bathroom. I’ll do our weekly food shop, walk the dog, help with life admin, organise my own plans (just walks) but I’ll bicker with my brother about why I don’t want to take the bins out. I’ll get frustrated if I’m not given the point in a heated game of Scattegories, I’ll get into moods where I demand sole attention from my mum and I’ll roll my eyes when I have to tell her where I’m going (on a walk).

Since moving out, the majority of those things have fallen to the wayside. My weekly food shop is just for me and I don’t have to worry about sharing a bathroom with my brother (just two other girls with incredibly intensive skincare routines). As well as the boring things like paying council tax, resetting the boiler pressure and remembering that Tuesday night is bin night, being in London has let me explore the boundaries of myself outside of the dynamics of my family or university. I know those boundaries are limited at the moment, they don’t stretch much further than the local park, the nearest Aldi and the coffee shop round the corner, but still, the small routines make me feel like I have some sense of independence. I know that all of this is coming from a place of privilege, and there is much more to adulthood than the actual act of moving out. I’ve noticed a change in the way I think, the way I decide which relationships to prioritise, the way I look at my own worth, a difference in what I put my effort into and a shift in what I spend my time worrying about. These things weren’t sudden, and I hope they would’ve happened anyway, but I needed that nudge to acknowledge them, a reason to look back on how much I’ve changed over the past few years.

Growing up does not mean I can now suddenly keep all of my plants alive, it does not mean I’ve stopped losing socks or that I now only read intellectual novels. It does not mean my flat is always tidy and full of freshly baked bread and flowers. I still have a tendency to accidentally finish a bottle of wine when I planned to only have a glass and I don’t hoover regularly enough to stop balls of dust and crumbs from gathering on our kitchen floor. Messy bedrooms, microwave meals, hangovers, wrong choices, debt, procrastination and oversleeping all still exist. The thing that has changed is my acceptance of them, my understanding of balance and strangely enough, my excitement for the whole process.

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

Hello

Hello,

It’s been a while. It feels strange starting a blog post as a letter, but this page has always felt personal and when I’ve thought about writing this, it has felt a lot like a letter I need to write. Like a friend I need to get back in touch with and update on my life. I guess maybe that’s one reason why I’ve put it off for a while, sometimes there is so much to say you don’t know where to start or how or whether anyone cares at all.

I guess the main thing is I’ve moved to London, to Brixton, with a couple of friends from school. It all happened relatively quickly, we made the decision and had moved in within a month. At first I think that made me doubt whether it was the right thing, perhaps because we are taught to be rational and to think things through and make sure we’ve planned ahead. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes you just can’t plan ahead. Depsite it perhaps not being the best decision financially, I think it was the right thing to do on all other counts. It’s made me feel like things are back on track again, that I’m actually an adult and it’s reminded me that life works in phases and I’m really bloody excited for this one. That being said, moving out for good has been strange. This is the first time in my life where I won’t go home for two months over Christmas or Summer, when I won’t head back to Bedford after I finish travelling and I don’t think that’s really sunk in yet, suddenly I’ve made a pretty permanent change.

I think that’s a good thing though, everyday I feel more and more like myself. I think I’d kind of forgotten who that was. I’m busy again, surrounded by people who make me laugh and feel good, it feels like I’m remembering what real life is like. I’ve also remembered what it’s like to be ok on my own and regain my independence, I feel like I’d started relying on others and what they thought of me more than I’d like. My own emotional intensity from the past year has began to subside and it feels a bit like something heavy has been lifted off my chest. I know that’s not the case for everyone and I’m not naïve, just feeling good again and grateful for it.

People keep asking how the job hunt is going and all I can say is, well, it’s going. Relatively unsuccessfully as of yet but it’s definitely going. Since lockdown lifted, there are definitely more jobs out there, the issue is there are also more people applying for them. I feel like job applications can be pretty demoralising at the best of times so you can imagine (and I’m sure many of you know) how rubbish it is. But a job will come, things will change again. On the plus side, it means I’ve actually been able to get to know my new area, to make a few new friends and engage in the community. I don’t know when the next chance to take things this slowly will be so I’m trying to make the most of it, fill my days with personal productivity and focus on smaller moments, to enjoy the little lights. There’s a poem I keep seeing on the tube called Time To Be Slow that I’ve read again and again. It speaks of not letting the wire brush of doubt scrape away your sense of self and how, if you remain generous, the air will become blushed with new beginnings. I think we’re all waiting for new beginnings and I hope yours find you soon.

Last week I turned 23, it’s an age I’m excited for and was grateful to mark with some brilliant people who made me feel very special. That being said, I felt far less invested in my birthday than I used to, I think it’s partly because, as I’ve gotten older, I put less pressure on age as a marker of accomplishments. There are far more tangible ways to look back on my achievements than simply the passing of time. Also, there is far less to be excited about when you can’t have a party, so maybe that was it.

I hope you’re well and staying both safe and sane. I know the next few months don’t look particularly bright but don’t underestimate yourself. As an individual I think you’re more prepared than you realise, we’re adaptable and you have survived this once before, you’ll do it again.

India x

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett