You’re the adult now.  You get to make the rules.

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I’m the adult now.  I get to make the rules.  That includes choosing toiletries.  I also get to make rules.  That includes not having to line them up straight & forward-facing in the cupboard.  Crazy times!


This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read other posts in this series, simply scroll down past this one.


When I was eight years old, I made a decision about my adult
life.  I resolved that when I was a
grown-up, I would by Finesse hair conditioner.
This choice was based purely on the product’s TV advertising
campaign
(‘Sometimes you need a little Finesse, sometimes you need a
lot.  Finesse!’ went the jingle).  It wasn’t targeted at my age group but I was
a rather precocious child so think the aspirational consumerism must have
appealed to me in some way, even if I couldn’t articulate how – thus my decision
to buy it when I was older.  

I guess I could have asked my mum to get a bottle of Finesse
but to be honest that would never have occurred to me.  Toiletry buying was some mythical event, choices
made and executed by adults.  Our bathroom
shelves housed a green bottle of Vidal Sasson’s Wash n’ Go, ‘salon shampoo and
conditioner in one’
 (complete with another aspirational consumerism ad), and it seemed to me that was just the way life
was.  Finesse would have to wait until
the long-awaited day when I too had the power to buy hair care products.

This tale of two conditioners reflects the wider power
situation that we find ourselves in as children.  Choices, from the trivial to the absolutely
monumental, are made for us and about us.
We rarely, if ever, had influence or input; what would you like for
dinner maybe, but certainly not how to structure our days and our lives.  Parents, teachers, local authorities,
national governments: they were the ones that took such decisions, whilst we
then agonised over whether to get a 99 or lolly from the ice cream van.

I’m not arguing that this situation is wrong per se.  Most of the figures in our lives operated
with our best interests at heart.
However, as children we can feel disempowered, passive even.  At an early age we learn that we have little
control over the circumstances around us to the extent that we don’t even ask
or assert ourselves in situations where we could have more influence or input,
like requesting a specific type of conditioner that we dream of trying out.

Crucially, this mind-set can linger into adulthood without
us ever realising it.  We can continue to
unconsciously function as if we were not the ones with control our lives and
the decisions we make within them.  

Sure, there are other forces at work; the same local
authorities and national governments, for one, as well as factors such as the international
economy.  Nonetheless we retain a fair
degree of agency.  Many of us are
fortunate enough that even when the job market contracts, we still have some
level of choice available to us.  If we
don’t like the political bias of one news outlet, we can turn to another – even
whilst retaining a level of cynicism about them all.

How often do we lose sight of this?  And how much so on the seemingly more trivial
end of the spectrum!  We forge relationships
then end them; get pregnant or not or find alternatives; emigrate and relocate
and start over in myriad ways.  But within
our daily lives, the passive childhood mind-set can hold strong without us realising.  We forget that our parents’ way of doing
something is not the only way.  We forget
that we don’t have to clean the hob in the same way our mum did, or that the
male partner in a relationship doesn’t automatically get the last biscuit just
because our dad always did.  Perhaps we
never truly realised that our feelings were valid and important.  

In our homes and other aspects of life, we are the adults
now.  That means that by and large, we
get to make the rules.  This discovery is
hugely empowering.  Yet it is often
overlooked, passing us by unnoticed.  We
continue to abide by codes of behaviour, consciously or unconsciously, that we
laid out years before but no longer serve us (if they ever did).  We continue to relate to the world as if we were
still helpless children.  So I want to
provide a much-needed reminder: you are the adult now.

You are the adult now.
You make the rules, and you get to overturn some that you don’t
like.  

You can buy fizzy pop every week if you want.  It doesn’t have to be reserved for special
occasions.  Do you what know else?  You can have a second can, or a third, in one
evening.  Maybe after a while the adult
that you are will decide you’re not that bothered or that this habit isn’t good
for you, so you stop.  But you get to
make those choices too.  No-one else is
responsible or in charge.

You can go away over a major holiday period if you want too
(this may seem an unseasonal example but wanted to throw it out there now so
you have time to plan if this resonates with you).  You’re the adult, you earn the money and the
leave period, you can choose.  Other
adults (or children) may not like it, and you may have to deal with the
consequences of that, but you don’t have to hand over your power to make the
decision to them.  Maybe you decide the
hassle of rocking the boat isn’t worth it – but then that is your choice too.

What rules could you make (or break) now that you’re an
adult?  What would really help you?  

Perhaps it doesn’t even need to be a rule, maybe just a
single decision or experiment.  I’m
planning on adding Finesse to my next shop if the brand still exists, to
celebrate the entirely uninformed mental choice that I made twenty-five years
ago – although it will have to be a shampoo version, because I don’t use
conditioner.  

As the 1990s
advertisement states
, ‘You get to control the amount of conditioning that’s
right for your hair’.  All these years
later, turns out they were right.  I do
get to control that.  I’m the adult
now.  I get to make the toiletry buying rules.

If you’d like to share with me about the rules you’ve made
and broken, or how realising you’re the adult now has affected your life, then
there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (rae@alifeofonesown.co.uk).

This post is part of
my ‘This is my real life’ week.  

To read how that began, you can click here for the opening post.

To read other posts in this series, simply scroll down past this one.

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One thought on “You’re the adult now.  You get to make the rules.

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