THE WAY I SEE IT #11 : By Darren Murphy

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NONE of us want to grow up really, do we? Well, I’m sorry for stating the obvious but I’m afraid it’s inevitable!

I couldn’t help but laugh this week after reading a list of benchmarks which determine whether you’ve made it to adulthood. The researchers used findings from a study of 2,000 people and topping the poll was having a mortgage. Now I might be mistaken but a lot of working-class people my age don’t have mortgages, so does that mean they haven’t yet made it to adulthood? I don’t think so, and it’s more likely these people would like to have a mortgage, but it’s nothing more than a distant dream because they simply can’t afford to put down a deposit. Don’t get disheartened if this applies to you, though, as Rome was once just an idea, too. (Or maybe that’s just a fictional line from Gladiator.)

If number one had me laughing, number six had me in hysterics: “Having children.” I wondered where the study had been carried out. I mean they couldn’t be serious isn’t it fashionable for girls at school to be mothers nowadays? Have you ever been in Mothercare lately? One in six mothers are buying their child’s clothing there, as well as their grandchild’s. It doesn’t take an adult to make another human being.

Searching through the list, I decided to start ticking the boxes that applied to me. And as I ended up checking 31 out of the 50 boxes, I guess this means I’m a fully-fledged adult. Did I really need a survey to tell me this, though? Not really, the sore joints after some light exercise and the recurring nose hair already had me worrying. Not to mention my slowing metabolism and growing stomach which just seemed to appear overnight and now won’t disappear without me waging a short war on it.

Being able to bleed a radiator was at number 19 on the list, and having worked for a plumbing firm since I was 15 it had me thinking that I must have grown up fast! Listening to Radio 2, watching the news and washing your own clothes also found their way on to the maturity list. I suppose this means I’ve made it, I’ve reached social maturity, because these are all, er, activities I’ve participated in. The fact I’ve just graded washing clothing as a so-called activity speaks volumes. No wonder I’m so unfit!

I’m living in hope that 1,999 of the people who took part in this survey were probably quite boring, because the majority of the list comprised everyday mundane tasks that even some youngsters have to do. In fact I’m not accepting adulthood for at least another four years when I turn 30!

Maybe I’m just having an early midlife crisis. I might by a motorbike, then again I don’t like going too fast. Or maybe just maybe the survey was codswallop and I shouldn’t start worrying until my teeth need replaced and my hair starts receding.

What I do know is that growing up is a part of life, and I’m simply going to embrace it and enjoy it. After all it seems a long time since I was able to say the eternal line: “When I grow up I want to be a . . .”