1. Having to meet everyone. You know how there are certain people you just can’t stand and as a child you always tried to avoid? Well, being a grown-up means that no longer can you throw a tantrum, tell Mummy you hate him or her and that she can’t make you say, ‘Hi’.
2. Being polite. You have to put on a good show, meet everyone with a smile and listen to others go on and on about how the war in the Middle East will affect microwave ovens or something equally absurd. All you can do is smile and nod your head.
3. Being formal. One always has to dress formal, talk formal, act formal. Heck, I’ve seen people ‘hang-out’ formally. Yes, there is such a thing.
4. Being responsible. I’m still getting the hang of this one. I mean, one day you’re 17, the next you’re 18 and suddenly the very essence of you is expected to change.
5. Behaving rationally. Honestly this one’s not fair. Why are adults always expected to behave rationally at all times? I mean why can’t one speed and overtake from the left side when the uncle in front of you is chugging excruciatingly slowly in the middle of two lanes? Because it’s not rational. Right. Gotcha.
6. Expectations. “People have expectations beta,” is what my Mum always says. So, for the sake of people, kill your inner urge to be happy, embrace maturity and the high blood pressure and premature baldness that comes with it so the world is awed by the pearl you’ve turned out to be.
7. Increasing your vocabulary. Somehow people just don’t take you seriously unless you deliver your intended message in the most extravagant form of speech known to mankind.
8. Paperwork and cards. I’m not referring to the one we have to send on Eid. These are the papers certifying our education, cars, houses, etc. Then there are cards certifying we are indeed a person (cool, eh?) and cards certifying we can drive, and of course the ones that allow us to draw money from banks. Whatever happened to the bank of Mum and Dad?
9. The hormones. Seriously these biochemical terrorists go a little rough on a person; we could seriously use a break from the emotional rollercoaster ride.
10. Getting a job. After having the life sucked out of you while studying for a piece of paper that assures the world that you did indeed lose all your youth at the hands of a university, you are at the very least expected to find a job that pays well. Cause they’re out there just hanging on trees for you to pick.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, October 23rd, 2011.