fbpx En Route #8 — PCA

En Route #8


All Day Adulting

There’s this quote by Joan Didion that I really love. In a single sentence, she perfectly captures the curse and blessing that is being in your early twenties. “One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened before.” Everything feels so pressing, so urgent all the time. It really does feel like we’re in uncharted territory no one else could possibly understand. Still, I think we as young adults are largely fueled by a sort of blind optimism. The unfailing hope that tomorrow, regardless of the mistakes of today, will be better.

Being in your early twenties is vastly different from your teenage years. Having graduated from first flirtations with independence, we’ve been seeing adulthood for a couple of years now and things are starting to get serious. Familiarizing ourselves with all the little quirks of building a life as an individual, we enjoy the perks of disposable income and time with only ourselves to spend it on. As we decide the kind of life we want to lead, we also get to decide the rules we live them by. Washing dishes only when we have to. Eating cheesecake in the bathtub.

Adulthood is freedom but it’s also responsibility. Paying your rent. Making sure the door is locked and coat hung up in the closet. Feeling closer to your parents than ever when a friend asks if you want to go out for dinner and you say, “Sorry, I’ve got food at home.” Adulthood is work. Adulthood is constant. Adulthood is when you come home on a Monday after school, unload your groceries, plug in your laptop and enjoy the lullaby of rain outside. Only it isn’t coming from outside. Water is leaking from your ceiling. Shit.

Despite all the joys and freedoms adulthood allows for, there are times when things come to a screeching halt and you briefly wonder if it’s too late to toss in the towel and move back home. It took me a good few minutes to realize that the drip drip drops I was hearing was in fact not the rain outside my door, nor the Netflix show I had on. When the realization did smack me about the head, I snapped into action. With the grace of a headless chicken I frantically moped up the water whilst searching my cabinets for suitable cups, bowls, and pots to catch the still dripping water.

I rang my Dad for crisis management, then my Mom for emotional support, and after I had gotten my wits back together, I called my landlord to update her on the situation. As she made the necessary calls, I was tasked with walking up the stairs to inquire if anyone else was experiencing a similar problem. The eternal question sprang to mind: What does one wear to meet the neighbors who have no doubt overheard you blasting Taylor Swift at 2am? Bathrobe and fuzzy slippers? Blazer and blouse? I called my Dad again.

After sufficient hand wringing and Google translate-ing to ensure my message would be as clear as possible, I ventured up the stairs and knocked on the door. It swung open. A guy about my age, a fellow student my landlord later told me, poked his head out. We exchanged greetings. Any French I had left my brain as I could only manage a pleading “parlez-vous anglais?”. He nodded and I proceeded to launch into my ceiling leak woes. He turned out to be very nice, but could not commiserate. I thanked him profusely, face now permanently stained red.

As I walked back downstairs to tell my landlord the leak seemed to only be affecting my ceiling, the novelty of this particular episode of adulting officially wore off. It was one of those “why me?” moments that made me yearn for the ignorant days of my youth where things like leaky roofs were handled for me. For once, I was only too glad to forget my troubles in favor of coding UI cards in HTML and CSS, homework that demanded my undivided attention for a good few hours.

I wish with every fiber of my being that I could tell you this story has a happy ending. Alas, I’m still in search of it as my landlord battles French insurance bureaucracy into submission while I cheer from the sidelines. Thankfully the leak has remained relatively dormant since, though the towels and bowls still sit by my window. Midterms have remained the main source of my anxiety, not even a leaky roof can compare with the full force of Art school exam week.

In a way, it’s kind of nice to know that two times a year everyone is feeling the same academic pressure as you are. The good thing about deadlines is that there’s no other choice but to meet them, and by the time you read this I will have (hopefully) vanquished all of mine. The weekend promises relief from the endless stream of homework and a chance to enjoy the better parts of being 20-something. Wishing you much merriment and celebration as we wrap up our first Midterms of the year.

Get some sleep!

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