Today I saw a Big Bang Theory episode which resonated with me. I usually find that when you are struggling with something, a song, TV show or random movie which is on is just putting the finger down on your issue, and I wonder if that is a mere coincidence, me paying more attention to it, or a God-given support to remind you that you are not the only person battling this.
Whatever it is, the episode was about Penny stating she does not feel like a real adult and Bernadette replying she still feels like pretending. Now that is something I can entirely relate to and I still feel terribly misplaced in this world of adults. If you've been following me (thanks), you know I have recently got engaged and started a full-time freelance career with actual paying clients. A husband and my "own" company, it does hardly get more grown up like this!
And still, I feel like a...fraud. Anyone relate? I feel like this is a pretend-game where when I have had enough, I can easily skip out and return to my mummy who will make me dinner and scribble down stories, just for myself. But I do have bills to pay, I need to be grown-up, and failing in these endeavours actually comes with consequences - a thought which gives me fucking nightmares. Of course, no one will die, but still, I can fail and it might end in the ultimate result of getting fired and losing an income I may need - in short, this is no pretending anymore, so why does it still feel like it?
You may wonder what brought this on and I can tell you what happened in the past weeks. As I have stated above, I can now officially live from writing (not well, but hey, it's a start); however, I still get fed up with work, still count down how many articles to go on, and I feel ever since I have become a grown-up (officially), I have lost my appetite for whatever I am doing. As a child, I could content myself with playing, thinking, writing, anything for hours and hours, nowadays these hours of joy and fun have become chores which need to be ticked off in order to proceed. Honestly, even my wedding planning is a source of stress and barely enjoyment, and I don't think this is how life should be at all. Where are the times where something was so exciting you could feel it gush over your body, trembling with the thrill of anticipation.
OK, this is an awful truth to admit, but it has haunted me for a while and I believe to be terribly flawed, so I wonder if it can be only me feeling frustrated with the adult world, with rather needing to do things instead of wanting to do them. But then, what do I enjoy these days? Pathetically little. Reading, writing, meeting friends - everything seems to have become exhausting, another thing to cram into my schedule, as terrible as that sounds (and I apologise to all my friends reading this, but I think you know what I mean). Why do other people my age so effortlessly accept and deal with it why I simply slither into depression or escapism and seem incapable to keep up anything for longer than six months? Is it because I want more from life or because I still have to learn that this is it. There is nothing more to being an adult. I hope not.
Another thing...I have just started reading the HP books again, which is always a clear sign I am entirely and completely overwhelmed with my adult life. Harry Potter or the Gilmore Girls series is a place of solace and peace, a place where I know every character by heart, every page, every episode. Reading the Harry Potter books, I feel I can escape from a world too scary to dwell in and wish I could ooze into the ink and become part of their world instead - a world where my best friends live (is this sad?) and where I know how it will start, grow and end. This is the magic of books, I reckon, but I cannot hide in them forever, sadly. I wish I could get a taste for the adult life and finally stop feeling like a fraud, apologising for every mishap, dreading to make phone calls to IKEA because they messed up our order or meet with an accountant to get my taxes sorted.
Peter Pan Syndrome is what they call it, I presume, when people don't want to grow up, but I wonder if it doesn't apply to many more people we care to admit. Are we ever taught how to be a grown-up? Well, if so, I seem to have skipped a few lessons. But then again, is it actually fun to be an adult? I daresay, based on the limited experience I've had, no. It seems to be a very strenuous endeavour filled with daily little obstacles to overcome, being gushed over with hundreds of nit-picky things when it suits least until you have a crescendo of stress and worry, completely overworked and panicky you try to get all the ends together only to cry alone in the toilet because you're too grown-up to let other people see you cry and you re-apply your makeup and fake it till you make it. Well, that sounds like a lot of fun (that was sarcasm for you, it's hard to be sarcastic in written text).
I have decided, though, I will give it another try - partly because there is no alternative, is there (is there??), and be more disciplined, but I am shocked that I have stopped delivering. In the past weeks, I have actually had clients who criticised my work to a extent that I felt they were not entirely happy, and what did I want to do? I wanted to quit my let's-pretend game and ask my mummy to make me cocoa, but I'm afraid these days are over, so I got to suck it up, swallow my pride and play the game - even if it stopped being fun a long time ago.
Should you have similar experiences or fears, why not share them here or on social media with me, I'd love to know I am not the only nutter with Peter Pan Syndrome out there.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.