Yesterday I woke up and realised that in exactly three months time I will be turning the big 21. While it doesn’t have as much impact today in Ireland as it would in other countries (I’m already legally able to do a lot of things) or as it did previously (i already have a key to my front door, the joys of being a child of a dual income family), there were still some things I wanted to achieve before I came of age.
Obviously, I don’t have a lot of time to get everything on the list done. So, I have taken it as ‘things I have done before 21 and things I could possibly do in the meantime.’
1: Learn to drive: I don’t think I’ll be fully capable of driving before I’m 21. Though I have improved, despite not being home often enough to actually do it. To do.
2: Vote: Since turning 18, there have been three elections and two referenda in Ireland. I missed one of them due to being in college and forgetting to apply for the postal vote, but I would have gotten my way anyway. Done.
3: Organise a surprise party: Now, I’m great at organising things. (Just not keeping them tidy.) This, however, is something that has failed me so far. I’m a terrible secret keeper. To do.
4: Leave a play at the break: Nope. I like plays, even if it’s horrible I will stick it out, get my tenner’s worth, and complain to the director afterward. To do.
5: Travel outside your home country: Starting at the age of three, I have been to the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, the US, Singapore and Australia. Done.
6: Travel alone: Travelling alone is something that I can’t bring myself to imagine doing. I need company, and someone to help carry the bags when I go shopping. To do.
7: Let go of something you thought you couldn’t let go of: Paula. Everyone has their first teddy, and it holds a special place in their hearts. While I still have her in my room, I don’t actually sleep with her in the bed. Done.
8: Write a letter: Back in the days before texting/Facebook/Twitter/whatever, my cousin and I used to write each other letters. I’m pretty sure if I ever found one of them I would cringe at my pathetic spelling attempts. Done.
9: Lose someone you love: I count myself lucky that I didn’t go through my first family bereavement until my grandfather died when I was 19. About six months later, one of my mother’s best friends passed away too, and both of those hit us all hard. Watching your parents go through a bereavement is one of the scariest things you will ever go through. Done.
10: Play a team sport: My life has been dotted with intermittent sports participation. Camogie until I was fifteen, and football (NOT soccer) after that. Done.
11: Read a classic: Charlotte’s Web was one of the first books I finished on my own, as in without my parents reading it to me. And yes, I cried my eyes out. Done.
12: Stay up until the sun comes up. In the name of fun: One night after a performance, the cast of a show I was in had a “getting to know you” party. I’m pretty sure the sun was about to come up when I left the house at half five. Done.
13: Work hard, make your own money, save it: Unfortunately I am among the thousands of young people who are unemployed in Ireland. Besides, even if I had my own money, I’d probably spend it as soon as I got it. To do.
14: Get a piercing somewhere other than your ears: I have my navel pierced, and have plans to get another piercing. I’m not sure where, but it definitely will not be in my tongue. Done.
15: Cook something all by yourself: Since I went to college and had to fend for myself, I’ve picked up a few tips around the kitchen. I have my specialty dishes, and I’m also pretty good at beans on toast. Done.
16: See fine art first hand: I’m not much of an art gallery person,in fact I would much sooner go to a history museum than an art gallery. But I have looked at a few pictures in my time. Not the Mona Lisa, but paintings around Lismore Castle or some of the galleries in Dublin. Done.
17: Take a train journey: Come on. How else do you think I get to college and home every weekend? Done.
18: Get a major haircut: It doesn’t happen often cos I like having hair long enough to play with, but every two or three years I get a good three or four inches off the ends of my hair. It makes it a lot healthier, and it grows faster then too. Done.
19: Do your own laundry: Once again, this skill was only acquired when I went to college. It also makes life for my mother easier, because she has two less loads of laundry to worry about. Done.
20: Use an ancient Nokia phone: I started my phone addiction a little after the hubbub of the Nokia 3310, but my first phone did resemble a brick. I don’t think it counts, somehow. To do.
21: Make mistakes: And learn from them. Done. Every single day since I came to be.
Fifteen things done and six yet to do? Not bad going. How would you fare on that list?