I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I knew my childhood was over.
My grandparents selling the only home I had ever known them to have.
Growing up, all the media I consumed told me the transition would be momentous.
The afternoon sun catching on my parents’ stray grey hairs.
Rememberable and exact. X marks the spot. It would be natural, and I would welcome it with open arms.
Unknowingly reorganising the posters on my wall for a final time.
In the end, it was a catalogue of small events. Unperceivable to the untrained eye.
Seeing friends once a week instead of daily.
Until one night, lying awake in the lonely hours as the city traffic creates a buffer of white noise, the gravity of adulthood arrives. The prime example of an unwanted guest.
The walks I take with my dogs becoming progressively shorter as their bodies grow older.
Adulthood is incomparable to childhood. It brings its own conceptions of joy and sadness. It brings its own contradictions.
Swapping face paint for skin care.
I know I am happier but I’m more stressed. My friendship circle is stronger but smaller. Solitude is rare and plentiful.
Supermarket shopping with a budget.
I still haven’t fully accepted this transition. I watch Barbie movies for comfort. Buy stickers I’ll never use. Hope someone else will fix the leaking tap. Ask my parents to book my dentist appointments. I call my mum and talk for far too long about nothing, just so I can close my eyes and imagine I’m back home, where hugs are endless and responsibility is sparse.
Taking off my school uniform and never putting it back on.
Yet, despite its murkiness and unparallel fear, adulthood is a shiny new toy.
Getting a double bed.
I think back to my childhood self, full of joy and hope and anxiety for the unknown. I imagine meeting her as adult me, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder and telling her the one thing anyone craves to hear.
Riding in ubers and taxis instead of my dad’s car.
Our priorities are shifting. Our dreams have changed, but they’re coming true. We challenged and surprised ourselves. And at the end of it all, we are okay.
Written by Zoe Perks
Image courtesy of i-D ISSUE 214 ‘THE POPULAR ISSUE’ OCTOBER 2001