This is not how I expected independence would be.


I’m stressed.

Holy fuck, this must be adulthood. I do not like it one bit. I’m not even out of University yet, I’m not even at the stage of having to buy my own toothpaste and paying my own mortgage (or whatever it is real adults do) and I’m panicking.

This is NOT how I expected independence would be.

I have a growing list of, so far, about 20 things I need to get done in the next 2 weeks, most of which involve money, some of which include tracking down rogue lecturers in an attempt to figure out what is required of me for this next year- all of which I desperately DO NOT want to do.

I’ve recently found myself in the company of several recent university graduates who are on the cusp of adultish oblivion. As they stare into the void, waiting for it to stare back, I am standing nervously in the background listening to them stress about things I forgot existed- things like tax returns and monthly incomes and petrol prices.

I assure you, when I crawled out of my mother’s womb almost 21 years ago, I did not sign up for taxes.

There is a ball of anxiety growing in my chest that has been festering since I moved away from home. It’s about the size of two fists and it’s punching its way out of my torso. If this is what it means to be independent and self-sustaining, I would really like to retreat back into my pillow fort until all my responsibility goes away.

When I was 8 I remember looking at my incredibly stressed out mother and asking her what was wrong. She replied with a curt “I’m just worried”. Thus 8 year old Harriet did the only thing she could do and started to worry about the day when she would have to start worrying too. I was worried about worrying.

What a dumb kid. You have no idea how to worry, grade 2 me- eat an oreo and read your book, you’ll be fine for the next 10 years.

Here’s the thing though, 40 year old me probably envies almost 21 year old me. Look at her- so young and dependent on her parents. She has no kids to yell at, no bills to pay, no husband to boss around. She can travel after she studies, she’s currently worrying about things that are supposed to happen 2 years in the future, she still thinks she’s going to figure everything out. Almost 21 Harriet is actually doing okay.

I have 20 things to cross off my list, none of which involve taxes or monthly installments on things. I’m terrified for the day that’s no longer true.

But for now I think I’m just going to be almost 21.




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