The Five Stages of Being a Kidult

 

Less than a year ago, I turned 18.

It was strange. At 11:59 pm I was watching Disney’s Princess Protection Program and banging pots and pans together. Exactly one minute later, I had the legal right to vote for my nation’s leaders, to drive motor vehicles and to stay up past my bedtime.

It’s hard to believe that within a few moments I had escaped the pimply angst of adolescence and stumbled into the glamorous world of adulthood. Eagerly, I turned to the mirror to see if I’d been physically transformed in any way. Nope, I still looked the same – like a remarkably short 13-year old with a small, inconspicuous bald patch. I’d had that patch for so long I’d even given it a name. Harold.

To be honest, I even felt the same. I felt like a child. I wanted to go back to my pots and pans. I wanted to lick the icing off cupcakes and the cream off Oreos. I wanted to watch PG-13 movies with adult supervision.

But I was not a kid. And I was not an adult either. Somehow, I had found myself in that blurry no-man’s land in-between the two spheres. I had become a kidult.

And exactly three months later, they packed me off to university.

I found it all terribly unfair. For 18 years straight, I had been told to “Go to your room!”, “Eat your vegetables, young lady” and “Go to bed, now!” And all of a sudden, one fine day, I was being asked to live in a different country, to provide nourishment and sustenance for myself and Harold, and to go to bed whenever I felt like it.  I was horrified. How dare they give me the freedom to do whatever I wanted? Didn’t they know how young and dumb I was?

In the months I have been here, however, I have gradually had to come to terms with my hybrid identity as a Kidult. The process was by no means easy, and it happened in five distinct phases:

Phase 1: Denial

In the beginning, adulthood was a mere technicality. Technically, I was 18 years old, and therefore legally an adult. But this was merely an inconsequential detail. In my first month here, I pretended like nothing had changed. I’d constantly text my mother to ask her things like “It’s 11 pm. I should go to bed now, right?” Sometimes, I’d supply her with mundane details of my life, such as “I just poured some water into a glass and then drank it” and “I am going to floss.” For about two weeks, she pretended to be enthusiastic: “Yes! Stay hydrated, I’m proud of you!” or “Dental hygiene will serve you well later in life!” But as time passed, her attitude changed. First she started to respond with “K”. Then she started to seen-zone me. It felt like a bad break-up. Clearly, if I wanted Santa to bring me any presents this year, I had to grow up.

 Phase 2: Anger

Now that I’d made up my mind to be an adult, I had to act like one. What do Well-Adjusted Adults do? For one, they’re independent. They don’t rely on their parents; they take charge of their own lives. Clearly, I was not very good at this – not only did I text my mother so much that she started to consider a restraining order, I also Skyped my parents every single day. If I wanted to be a real adult, I’d have to wean myself off this destructive habit.

But I couldn’t. I kept trying to find excuses to Skype them.

“I should call; today is Dad’s half-birthday” or “A dormant volcano on the Lesser Sunda islands became active today; I should call to find out if my parents are okay”. Clearly, I was addicted – but good old Skype saved me. Somehow, it realized that I was slipping, so it compensated by freezing every 30 seconds. This meant that instead of talking to my parents, I spent most of my time making Adele proud by screaming “HELLO? HELLO?” at my laptop screen.  Skype made me so angry that I almost threw my laptop out of the window once, but luckily, I couldn’t open it. I took this as a sign: the problem was not Skype. It was me. Much like the Wi-Fi signal in my room, I was weak.

Phase 3: Bargaining

Another thing that independent adults seem to do well is money. But financial responsibility wasn’t really my thing. It took me a while to even register the fact that money has value – it is not a just a piece of paper with pictures and words on it. During our initial week on campus, they’d suggested that we download an app called “You Need a Budget”. My reaction to this was “Lol.”

It turns out that the joke was on me, because I later realized that I was not, in fact, Scrooge McDuck. I was not even a duck. I was an Adult, an Independent One at that, with Expenses.

Having realized this, I began to overcompensate. One of the toughest financial decisions I had to make was “Meal swipe or campus dirhams?” [Meal swipe: 30-unit swipes used to purchase campus meals; campus dirhams: university-specific currency, like Monopoly money, but real]. I needed to have enough campus dirhams to spend on toilet paper, but on the other hand, I also needed meal swipes, because I’m a compulsive hoarder and I liked knowing that I had 200 swipes left on my card at any point in time.

Ironically enough, my desire for financial optimization came at a cost. I’d spend so much time in the queue trying to bargain with myself that my food would often get cold. This made me sad.

Phase 4: Depression

All my efforts to become an independent adult fell through quickly the day I fell ill. It was just a mild cold, but to me, it felt like the plague. I lay in bed sniffling and patting my own head, because that’s what my mommy did when I was ill. I also tried to give myself a back massage, so in addition to suffering from the plague, I ended up mildly spraining my shoulder.

For the next three days, I was a sorry sight. I wanted hot chocolate without having to get out of bed, so I sat on a chocolate bar for a day. I wanted warmth, but the air conditioning in my room was stuck on minus 55 degrees Celsius. I wanted to sneeze, but there was no one to say “Bless you”, so I had to hold it in. And I wanted to be babied, but I was a grown-up.

Phase 5: Acceptance

Clearly, I had no choice. I had to accept the undeniable fact that I was a kidult. In an ultimate attempt to endorse this new identity, I decided to go wild and do the one thing that defines Adulthood: grocery-shopping. I am proud to announce that a few days ago, I went to the Convenience Store, and I bought my first vegetable. Then I called up my mother to inform her of my purchase. “What did you buy?” she asked me. I had no idea. I described it to her, and she scanned her Mother Portal for answers. As it turns out, I’d bought a rambutan. This was, apparently, a fruit. Darn it. My first vegetable was actually my first fruit. Never mind. It was a symbolic victory. I’d conquered my phobia of health, and I’d made a wise investment in my future.

But you know what the best part was?

When I looked into the mirror that day, I realized that I’d finally begun aging into Harold.

Originally published on The Gazelle.

 

Babies On A Plane: Sit Back, Relax, and Try Not To Cry (Too Much)

I’ve finally made it to my 50th post. After two years of blood, sweat, tears, anxiety medication and more sweat – I live in a tropical country – it’s finally happened. This blog was my baby, and my baby is all grown up *sheds single tear while staring into the distance in a powerful, masculine way*.

On that note, lets talk about babies.

As a rule, babies aren’t too bad. A little bit overrated (come on, they’re just overgrown potatoes) and I certainly wouldn’t buy one unless I got a good discount plus a free coffee mug, but from a distance I wouldn’t feel the need to throw sharp objects at them. That’s generally a good thing, I think.

There is only one exception to this rule. There is one place where baby-hating would be fully justified and even encouraged. Yup, you got it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why they don’t allow sharp objects on flights.

Disclaimer: I did not/ do not have any babies of my own. I am not closely acquainted with any. I have concluded a business deal with a few but it ended in a lawsuit. The only credentials I have to speak on this matter is the fact that I was a baby once – something that I am not very proud of and would prefer not to speak about. So parents, do forgive my lack of empathy. My mother says that I am a vengeful person.

Anyway, BABIES WERE PUT ON FLIGHTS BY SATAN WHEN HE SAW THAT HUMAN BEINGS WERE ACTUALLY ENJOYING THE HELLFIRE AND SETTING UP DECKCHAIRS AND TOASTING MARSHMALLOWS AND TRYING TO SELL HELLFIRE ON EBAY. BABIES WERE MADE TO SLOWLY LEECH THE LIFE OUT OF YOU, 10,000 FEET UP IN THE AIR. THAT WAY, YOU’RE ALSO CLOSER TO HEAVEN, SO SATAN HAS MORE YUMMY CAMPING TREATS FOR HIMSELF. WHAT A DOUCHEBAG.

I think I should clarify that this post was provoked by my recent travels on a domestic flight, graced with the presence of not one, not two, but three spawns of Satan. For the purposes of gender-neutrality (#Equality) let’s call them Satan’s Spawn 1, Satan’s Spawn 2 and Satan’s Spawn 3. The SS, for short. Like the original SS, the infant SS too enjoyed committing what can only be classified as crimes against humanity. One of them looked distinctly like Heinrich Himmler.

SS1 was a troublemaker from the start. It had grabbed my hair and thrown its Binky at me in the airport before boarding the flight, so it’d already made it clear that it had something against me. The minute the flight took off, it began to bawl. Its parents pretended that it had a earache because the change in cabin pressure (yeah, right) but I know it was doing it specifically to irritate me. Irrefutable evidence of SS1’s devious mind came from the fact that it began to cry the minute its parents sat down in their seats, and started to giggle almost as soon as its parents took it for a walk up and down the aisle. It wanted to watch its victims suffer. You don’t get a good view when you’re sitting down.

SS2 was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It pretended to be the most angelic, holier-than-thou little human, an incarnation of Gandhi himself. I almost expected it to launch a non-violent protest and spin cotton. It blinked at everyone with these annoyingly perfect big blue eyes and smiled like it was in a beauty pageant. All the air stewards and stewardesses wanted to take pictures with it, like it was a celebrity or something. For some inexplicable reason, SS2 provoked my mother to say, out loud, “Aww, I wish I had another little baby.” This was strange for two reasons:

  1. How on earth could these screaming devil-children stir up her motherly instincts?
  2. She has me. What more could she possibly want?

I hate SS2.

SS3 was nowhere near as pretentious, but my God, he had the lung capacity of Tarzan. One would think that the flight was entirely powered by the sound energy being singlehandedly generated by that one-year-old. One saving grace was that, to make it easier for his audience, he had a wide range of frequencies to convey different messages. ‘Hungry’ was two screams followed by a prolonged cry. ‘Still hungry’ was one constant long wail. ‘Get that damn air stewardess out of my personal space’ involved a complex combination of short, angry screams and Binky-flinging. By the end of the flight, each and every one of us could help write an autobiography of SS3’s life, simply by interpreting its screams.

The situation was finally brought under control by one huge, terrifying-looking man (let’s call him Archangel Gabriel, God’s special messenger), who turned around and roared “QUIET” in the most fearsome voice he could muster. For a moment, both baby and parents were stunned, while the rest of us considered nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize and making him our Lord and Saviour. From then on, He became Enemy Number 1 for all babies and toddlers on that flight, with parents whispering “shush” and subtly gesturing towards Gabriel every time their babies tried to feign colic.

My trip got my thinking: Everything in a plane is supposed to be terrorist-proof or installed for safety reasons, but I think it was originally meant to keep us safe from babies. The huge metal cockpit doors? They ensure that the wailing doesn’t reach the pilots. Seatbelts? Without those, who knows where those squirmy toddlers might crawl to? In-flight magazines? Look, look, they have pretty pictures.

There’s only thing that we’re not utilising properly: the overhead storage cabin.

If you know what I mean.

The trauma of packing is emotional baggage.

I went on a trip last week.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking and no, the sentence above has nothing to do with frowned-upon hallucinogens. I really did go on a trip.

I won’t delve into details, but it was fun. Which was unfortunate, because then I couldn’t really complain about anything (although my mother will testify to the fact that I did make a good effort).

So I’ve decided to complain about what comes before a trip – the packing.

I consider bag-packing to be the single biggest First World Problem. I am a perfectionist and an undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive, so for me, packing is synonymous with a nervous breakdown. Even if I need to pack for just a couple of days, I end up on the ground hugging my knees and rocking back and forth in the foetal position while weeping copiously.

The problem is that I don’t really think about packing until the day before I am scheduled to leave. I call this ‘denial’. And when the day finally comes, I am too busy making lists of what to pack to actually pack anything. My mother calls this ‘lunacy’.

Example of my list of things to pack:
Glasses
Spare glasses
Glasses case
Paper towels to clean glasses
Cleaning liquid for glasses
Small pouch to put the glasses equipment in
Clothes

Once I’m done with my extremely comprehensive list, I have to look for each item. Now I think it’s a universally accepted fact that you never find anything that you’re looking for. There is one exception to this rule however – my mother. Suppose I’m looking for my glasses (yes, this is a recurring theme here). I know it’s on my desk and I scan every corner of it for hours and hours, but I can’t find it anywhere. I go outside for a second to call my mother. We come back to the room, and there it is, sitting right in the middle of the desk, a golden beam of light falling squarely on it. I can almost hear the choir of angels singing.

True story.

My mother’s very presence can make objects appear miraculously. Sometimes even the mere mention of my mother’s name does the trick.

Anyway, once I’ve found whatever I need to pack, I’m tasked with the laborious job of putting everything inside the suitcase. As I said before, being an obsessive perfectionist, I cannot rest until and unless every single object fits neatly into its predetermined slot. This…um, let’s say inclination, sometimes has dangerous repercussions. The Great Jeans Crisis of 2012, for instance. I had to fit four pairs of jeans in enough space for three. Let’s just say the crisis ended in a mess of scissors, torn denim and attempted murder.

Now that I think of it, attempted murder features heavily in stories of my packing crises.

Usually to prevent such catastrophes, I make a mind map – a layout of how I plan to arrange my stuff in the suitcase. Shirts in the top right hand corner, jeans in the bottom right hand corner and so on. Sometimes, though, I get a little bit carried away. I once made a large schematic annotated diagram of how to fit every single item required for a seven-day trip in one suitcase. And then, in a fit of misplaced enthusiasm, promptly proceeded to tear it in half. Two-thirds, more like.

So I didn’t go on the trip.

To be fair, my not going on the trip had more to do with me falling ill the next day. But I strongly suspect that my illness was, in fact, a case of nervous breakdown which I owe to the mind map fiasco. Alright, I admit, the doctor said that it was simply a case of the ’flu. I think he’s wrong, because one of his suggestions was that I “drink plenty of fluids”. I don’t trust anyone who says ‘fluids’.

Getting back to the topic at hand: packing. Alright, so I’ve found my stuff and (somehow) stuffed it into the bag. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that I haven’t suffered a breakdown yet. There’s only one thing left to do now – to lock the suitcase. Now, most suitcases have number locks, and by now, you probably know about my password problem. To put it succinctly: I have the memory of a goldfish in a retirement…well, bowl. In fact, I can’t even remember why I decided to use such an asinine analogy in the first place.

And now I’ve had an epiphany.

You know that John Denver song where he croons, “I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.”

I know now why he was so unsure about coming back:
He’d have to pack again.

Ali Baba had it easy – the only password he needed was ‘Open Sesame’

I had a major scare this week when I realized that I’d run out of things to be annoyed about. And when I run out of things to be annoyed about, I run out of things to complain about. And that means – no more fuel for posts!

Luckily, I remembered that I had created a list of things that annoy me as back up, just in case I ever reach that stage where I actually become a more agreeable person (I never thought that day would come). And as I double-clicked on the document (subtly named ‘Stuff that Annoys Me’), I realized that it was password-protected.

Now, I cannot even begin to imagine why I would password-protect a document about “annoying stuff”. I made this list six months ago (I was just a child then), and I really don’t know what I was thinking. Perhaps I was afraid that this list would become public and then annoying people would use it against me. But it’s more likely that I just did it to feel important. I do lots of things just to feel important.

Whatever the reason, I now had to recall the password that I used to protect an insignificant little document several months ago. And I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember what it was. I hadn’t the slightest clue. All I could do was guess. So I did. I typed in the usual suspects – my most common passwords. Of course, they didn’t work. My mother came in for some helpful input – “It must be ‘chocolate’,” she said. For reasons I cannot fathom, she has this long-held, unshakeable belief that all my passwords are ‘chocolate’. And soon enough, this was a fun family activity: “Try ‘document’!” “It must be ‘humptydumpty’, no spaces!” “I’m telling you, I’m sure it’s ‘12345thisismypassword’!”
“Cabbage!”
“Hitler!”
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

At some point I gave up, because I realized that I really didn’t need to open the document. I’d already found something new to be annoyed about. No, not family (although you’re pretty close). It’s passwords.  

Passwords are those frustrating little keys that can let you unlock any door in the world. The only difference is that keys are actual, material things, whereas passwords are simply these mysterious character formations that float around silently in the darkest recesses of your memory, disappearing at will every time you see the word ‘login’.  

I have passwords to five different websites. That’s not much, I know. But those are the most important ones – the ones I can’t afford to forget. And yet, I simply cannot remember which password goes with which login ID. Every time I access one of these websites I have to put in every single combination of password and login ID – that’s 25 different combinations, if my mathematics serves me correctly (which it doesn’t, most of the time). It takes me an eternity to actually log in to WordPress – longer than it takes me to write a post. In fact, I spend most of my day struggling to do what is essentially a make-it-or-break-it game of ‘match the following’.

What’s worse is those websites that need you to have a password with more than eight characters, alphabets, numbers, non-numeric and non-alphabetic characters, letters in caps, letters not in caps, letters in sombreros, the secret of life, the universe and everything etc. You get something that ends up looking like oaiwh01HU;&. How in the world are you supposed to remember a password like that? My mother’s way is to note all these passwords in a little book she bought solely for this. This, however, seems to defeat the entire purpose. What if someone just took the book? They’d have access to all the passwords, wouldn’t they? It’s like keeping your house-keys on the Welcome mat on your doorstep.

To solve this problem, I decided to create a structure for my passwords. It would start with my first name, then my year of birth, and then an emoticon chosen at random. That plan didn’t really work because I kept forgetting which emoticon I used for each website. I had to spend a wasteful amount of time wondering whether I used the annoyed face (:/) for WordPress or for Facebook.

Then I decided that I would use a variation of my mother’s idea. I would write all my passwords down in a book, but in Caeser Shift cipher code. I put the plan into action immediately. I initially failed to recognize the flaw, however – the amount of time it takes me to actually convert he password from the code to the original form. Now, majority of my day was filled with thoughts on the lines of ‘Does A become X? Or is that B?’ This, combined with algebra, resulted in some very unfortunate consequences indeed.

And now, however, I’ve hit upon the perfect idea. I’ve saved all my passwords in a Word document, and I’ve password-protected that, so that now there’s only one password that I need to remember. And what is that password?

I shan’t tell you, but I’ll give you a hint:
As long as I have the helpful input of my mother, I’ll never forget it.

P.S. If you’re a hacker, please ignore the sentence above. 

How to not cry when you lose to a six-year-old

Last week, I had cousins over. One of them was a particularly frisky six-year old whose idea of fun was turning on electrical appliances and then turning them off. Repeatedly.

Chagrined, I decided that I would introduce him to some real fun. So out came the board games. I asked my brother to set up the games while I pinned my cousin to the ground just as he was preparing to switch off the power supply to our house.

Eventually, though, we managed to set up Countdown and we managed to hold his attention for long enough to convince him that he could have fun without having to press buttons. For those of you who haven’t played, Countdown is a lot like hangman. You think of a word, use alphabet tokens to set up the word so that the opponent can’t see it, and then the opponent tries to guess the word one alphabet at a time. For every alphabet the opponent gets wrong, you turn a dial which has little diagrams of a stick figure drowning, well…progressively. We explained these rules to him, and he seemed to have understood.

I must admit, it all seemed to be going brilliantly until I realized that my six-year old cousin could spell precisely two words: ‘orange’ and ‘New York’. I have absolutely no idea what was so special about these two words, but that was all he knew. I had to spend the next two hours trying not to say ‘o’ or ‘n’ or any of the alphabets in these two words just so that he would win. Worse still, he mistook his winning streak for an actual aptitude for the game, and developed a liking for it. There’s only one thing worse than a six-year old who can’t spell: a six-year old who can’t spell but wants to play Countdown with you.

Somehow I convinced him that he should go play the game with my mother instead. These opponents seemed like a good match: a mother who had never played Countdown before, and a cousin who couldn’t spell. I watched gleefully as my cousin kept spelling out ‘orange’ and my mother kept looking apologetic every time the stick figure drowned because of her inability to guess the word. Eventually, though, my mother caught on, and proclaimed triumphantly, “Orange!” This was too much for the six-year old. He set about destroying the game set, the dial – everything. When he began throwing the alphabet tokens at us, I decided that it was time for a different game.

My mother suggested ‘snakes and ladders’, but we couldn’t possibly play that for fear of being transported back to 853 BC. Monopoly was too risky – what if my cousin landed on Oxford Street and ate all the pieces as a mark of protest against the high rent? And plus, I have no idea how to finish a game of Monopoly. We could be sitting there for days on end, waiting for a slow, painful death. Mastermind was out of the question too – I couldn’t possibly teach the nuances of probability and sequences to a six-year old who can barely spell. So finally, we settled on Jenga.

Jenga was also a bad idea because every time the Jenga tower collapsed, my cousin would start weeping. If it collapsed because of his clumsiness, he would simply weep. If it collapsed because of my carelessness, he would not only cry but would also hit me. This hypocrisy irked me and eventually I secretly began nudging the tower from the back every time it was his turn to remove a block. This would ensure that it would fall whenever he got his turn. I must admit, I had started to get a bit competitive. The game ended when he began crying and accusing me of being a ‘cheater’. Then I laughed wickedly and he started to throw the Jenga blocks at me. Everything got a bit out of control after that. Alright, I admit, it was wrong of me to throw the blocks back at him. But I was just fighting fire with fire. Or rather, with Jenga blocks.

After an hour’s time-out, we had cooled down and I offered to compete against him in a game of his choice. He chose the i-Pad classic, Fruit Ninja. Six-year olds have a short memory span. He failed to remember my kindness to him in letting him win the numerous Countdown games, and beat me hollow at Fruit Ninja. He then proceeded to laugh at me for several minutes, after which I called him a hypocrite and he called me a cheater, and then, well…it ended badly. Our shouting match was temporarily interrupted by my mother coming between us, not to stop the quarrel, as I presumed, but to save the i-Pad. At the peak of the quarrel, the six-year old did something odd with his hands, twisting them together and scrunching his fingers. I later found out that it is called ‘the Dragonfly’, and it is a six-year old’s equivalent of the Finger.

And thus I learnt an important lesson:
Never play board games with a six-year old. It will end in tears, and those tears will be yours. I speak from experience.

All I wanted was to be rich and famous.

What is the toughest question you’ve ever been asked?

For me, “Fries – large or medium?” and “Are you out of your mind?” are top contenders. But they aren’t the toughest questions I’ve ever been asked – not by a long shot.

No, the undoubted winner is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I like to call this question the ‘How It All Began’ question. I’ll explain.

Imagine this: You’re three years old and your parents have guests over. You’re busy playing with your ‘Barney-the-dinosaur’ soft toy. All of a sudden, there’s a lull in the conversation. Nobody knows what to say, so all eyes slowly turn towards you. You’re too young and innocent to know that you are the next victim. “Aww, what a sweet child,” one lady croons. She looks straight at you and asks, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” You’re taken aback. Grow up? That’s the first time you’re hearing about this. What does it mean – to grow up? And you have to be something? But why? You start squirming. You look at your parents hopefully. But they’re no help – they’re just beaming down at you, as is a whole group of adults. Suddenly one of them comes to a rescue. “Isn’t that a dinosaur you’re playing with? So, are we looking at an aspiring palaeontologist, then?” The adults laugh. ‘Laughing is good,’ you think, so you nod along. You’re only three, and you already want to be something that you cannot pronounce. Thus the scene is set for disappointment, self-realization and a life reconciled to procrastination.    

Just saying.

I really don’t understand why adults would ask unsuspecting little children this question. According to me, it’s one of three reasons:
1. They are genuinely interested. This seems unlikely.
2. They have suppressed memories of adults asking them the same question when they were little, so they are trying to heal themselves by re-enacting the trauma.
3. They want to point and laugh at little children’s dreams because their own childhood dreams were hopelessly crushed and they ended up being accountants. “Oh, so you want to become a ballerina, do you? (snorting) Good luck with that!”  

After lengthy observation (not really), I’ve noticed that there are six phases of childhood and each one boasts of a different answer to this question.

Phase 1 (ages 3-5 years): ‘My own little bubble’
You want to become one of the things in the pictures on the walls of your kindergarten class. A doctor. A painter. Dora the explorer.

Me, I went one step further in this phase. I told everyone that I wanted to be the President of the United States of America. That’s slightly strange, because I’m not even American.

Phase 2 (ages 6-7 years):  ‘Disillusioned: The bubble pops’
By now, you’re completely disillusioned with life. Your mother’s just told you that you can’t get a monkey, so you can’t be Dora the Explorer. And she scolded you for using up all the Band-Aids in your preparation to be a doctor. That’s when you think, ‘To heck with it! I don’t want to be an explorer, a doctor, or a painter.’
So you decide to be a bird.
Or an anteater, in my case. 

Phase 3 (ages 8-10 years): ‘I like the sound of that’
You’ve found that ants don’t taste very good. And you had to get six stiches on your knee when you tried to fly.
But now that you’re eight years old, you’ve heard about a whole range of occupations – and some of them sound really cool. Maybe you decide to be a scientist. Or a fire-fighter. Or a professional football player. Or a feminist. Or an ice-cream man. Sorry… an ice-cream person.

Phase 4 (ages 11-12 years): ‘It’s all about the money, money, money’
You know, scientist, fire-fighter and ice-cream man all seem like really hard jobs. You’d much rather just be rich and famous. No stress, no fuss. Just money. And a big house. Like Paris Hilton. Or Iron Man.

Phase 5 (ages 13-14 years): ‘Can I have a degree with that?’
Okay, your parents are saying that you need to get a degree. You’ve checked and there’s no such thing as a ‘rich-and-famous’ degree. You’re going to have to do something. But it has to be something fun, and interesting. Something you really love. A performing arts degree, maybe. Or a creative writing degree.

Phase 6 (age 15 years): ‘All roads lead to a professional degree’
Yup, it’s settled. Accountancy it is.

So that’s it. You started out with Dora and ended up as a character from Dilbert. Something went wrong along the way, and I think that it’s all because of this pesky question. It just sets the bar too high.

So I’ve devised an ingenious solution. I would be grateful if you could pass my message to as many three-years olds as you possibly can:

Three-years olds of the world: You know when adults ask you “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
You should say, “An adult”.
It can only get better from there.

We are family; I’ve got all my bloggers with me.

I am now officially part of the WordPress family – yup, I have a badge and everything.

I’ll start by thanking the people who have so graciously invited me to become part of this family: Charlotte at It Does Not Do To Dwell On Dreams And Forget To Live and Joe at Confessions of a Technophile. I’ll give you ten minutes to go read their (awesome) blogs. Your time starts now.

Done? Okay, let’s move on.

Continuing the family analogy, I was just wondering about what member of the family I would be if this were a real family. An annoying younger sibling? An oppressive older sibling? A forgetful grandparent? A wailing baby?

Maybe, but I like to think of myself more as a playful, slightly dull pet dog.

(I bet Charlotte and Joe are regretting this already)

I would also like to take a moment to say how appreciative I am of my WordPress family. It truly does feel as if they are a real family. Like a family, they are brutally honest, often correcting my grammatical inaccuracies and questioning my inadequate knowledge when I pretend to be an expert on things I know absolutely nothing about. They make for good critics as well, lauding my relatively better posts and raising a scholarly, experienced eyebrow at the more…um, unintelligible ones. In fact, they’re probably doing the latter right now.

But now that they’re “officially” family, there’s nothing they can do about it. They will simply have to put up with me, because that’s what families do – put up with one another. And love one another of course, but first let’s just see how far we can get with the ‘putting-up’ bit.

Okay, so now I shall proceed to nominate the following bloggers to become part of this family. (If you feel that becoming a member of a family that I’m part of is more of a punishment than an award, feel free to ignore this. No pressure.)

1. Rob Complains About Things
2. Confessions Of A Hopeless Introvert
3. The Great Unwashed
4. Mostlytrueramblings
5. Parenting is not my superpower
6. Adoxographia
7. Comment is free
8. SID’s Blog
9. Ginger’s Grocery
10. Mashed Potatoes Blog

So welcome to the family!