1. Buying stuff before you run out
While borrowing stuff from one’s flatmates (toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper) is okay, it’s not ideal. There’s nothing worse than the DOH! moment of realization when, toothbrush-in-hand, hair-all-wet, or – better yet – sat-upon-the-throne, one stares helplessly into the great beyond because one no longer has flatmates. The questions that inevitably follow (Can one brush one’s teeth with mouthwash? Can one wash one’s hair with conditioner? Can one make it to the other room where one’s sure there are some tissues/papertowels/old newspapers?) invoke the sort of humility most commonly sought after by devout monks and penitent prisoners. The alternative, however, is the smug feeling of knowing, as one squeezes the 5th-to-last helping of toothpaste out of the tube, that there exists one or more (2-for-1 sale!) additional tubes in the cupboard below the sink. Aw, yeah.
2. Having your own kitchen
I loved having roommates…much of the time. Coming home from work after a hard day and knowing somebody who cared and to whom I could vent would be home was a blessed thing. And house parties are far more excellent when the guest list is comprised of four-to-six people’s friends (and their friends and friends’ friends). But – owing in part to the fact that I’m vegan and Chris is veggie – the kitchen is a sacred space. I think I speak for eaters of the reddest meat, though, when I say that. I like to know where things are, but I also like to be the one who decides the best place. I like to obsess about the things I think should be, and nonchalantly brush off the things I think are obsessive. Mostly I think it just severely lowers one’s heart rate to not have to fume because so-and-so didn’t do the dishes…if the dishes aren’t done, ain’t nobody’s fault but mine (or Chris’. Chris!!!)
3. Getting a full night’s sleep
Why didn’t anybody tell me about this? Okay – to be fair, my mom did. And my teachers. And I think at least one or two doctors. As well as about 50 magazine articles. But seriously – 8 hours is magical. Anybody who says any different is lying. I realize that this applies less to my grown-up readers with children. Sorry about that. But when I look back at the nights out until 4am with a 7am start to work, I can’t help but wonder who the *&%@ that was, and why the *@&% she thought it was any kind of a good idea to get 2.5 drunken hours of sleep before slinging coffee to the masses. Thank goodness for T & C’s (the restaurant chefs) salsa fresca juice remedy (a shot, with a couple of tortilla chip chasers). Those were at once the days and very, very much not the days at all.
4. Eating well
There’s all these reasons as we get older to eat right: staving off disease, staying fit, keeping our skin supple, improving (all sorts of) stamina…So raw fruit and veg are the norm, and french fries just aren’t anymore. I’m looking for vitamins and omega-3’s and protein and calcium and iron – not speed and efficiency and grease. Food is way more delicious than it has ever been in my life, and it comes with promises of a better “me” to boot. The knock-on effect is that I feel amazing for it. Who knew? Okay, loads of people, but when you’re young, you’re just too busy to be bothered…or at least I was.
5. Having a full spice cupboard
How awesome is that? C & D were in town to visit the other day, and C asked if she could make us a meal (To which I said abso-freakin’-lutely. My only vegan friend and a demon with a skillet…bitch can cook. For real.). Do you have some of this? A little of that? Yes we do. Because we’re grown-ups. In all fairness this is down to two men – Chris, who has wanted a plethora of spices for as long as I can remember now, and a different C, a U.S. Am-boy who was here in Le Puy for 8 months and then headed home (Also vegan! So that makes 2.) and needed to offload some spices. At any rate, I am one of the grown-ups who gets to benefit from this delicious efficiency. Boo-yah.
6. Changing the definition of “clean and tidy”
I’m just gonna come right out with it – I wasn’t always the tidiest person.
Things have changed. Owing in part to life with far-tidier flatmates who were not cool with my tendency to…let’s say neglect my surroundings, as well as a couple of stints in the Philippines where they have cockroaches that fly, tidiness and cleanliness became bigger priorities in my life. But there’s also something distinctly pleasant..agreeable…nice, really, about walking into a tidy space. About starting a meal in a spotless kitchen. About knowing where things – any of them – are. It’s also nice when you have company unexpectedly and don’t find yourself running about the place shoving here and hiding there and closing this door and that one and later telling your guests, “No, I really can’t show you around…you have no idea how long it’s been since I tidied.” This is just so much easier. Being fair to myself, I have a lot more free time now that I’m not working three jobs, studying full-time, and trying desperately to maintain a hyperactive social life.
7. Getting sick less often
I read somewhere ages ago that the 30’s and 40’s are meant to be our healthiest years. The article said it had to do with the fact that by that point in our lives, we’d been exposed to and infected by just about everything that was likely to get us, and so our immune systems were at the height of their career, so to speak. I’m not sure if it’s that, or just that we’re not out at all hours (see #8), that we’re eating better (#4), getting more sleep (#3), and that our houses are a whole lot cleaner and therefore less prone to the germy filth that is a bacterium’s playground (#6). Whatever the case may be, I get a cold about once a year now, and am in relatively good physical health for the remainder of my 365. It’s about the same for Chris.
8. Friday nights losing their power over my sense of self-worth
Oh, Friday night. The herculean strength, the pull, the push, the fire-fighting urgency with which Friday night approached! To have no plans for Friday night was Just. Not. Acceptable. Why this makes any sort of sense whatsoever is entirely beyond me, and, frankly, was entirely beyond me for about 2 years before I stopped paying it any mind. Let’s see, we’re all freaking exhausted from working our arses off for the past 5 days (or, in the case of my late-teens – mid-twenties, 7 days), so let’s plan a dinner party for all our friends, complete with dancing and craploads of booze, to be followed by going out to the closest venue in which copious amounts of more booze and dancing can be had until roughly 2:20 am, when the bouncer is begging you to please get the &*$% out of the bar, whereupon you stumble home with 4 or 5 friends for a “nightcap,” which really means that everyone’s going skinny-dipping in the ocean and then maybe hot-tubbing at so-and-so’s place (complete with drinks) before somehow, at some point, falling into a slumber that may or may not take place in one’s bed (I have drooled upon many a friend’s carpet…pillow? Meh!)
9. Bottles of booze lasting longer in the house
This one’s really quite special…and simple: When we buy a bottle of wine, we are under no obligation to finish it the same night! I had no idea! And get this: the same applies to vodka, whiskey, and even tequila! How great is it to sit down to dinner and pop open that bottle of wine you bought a few days ago because you fancy a glass with your meal?
Being grown-up rocks.