I’m not quite sure what happened, but I appear to be growing up.
No, no, it’s not one of those tearful milestone moments – I don’t have a graduation cap in hand, I haven’t received any prestigious awards, and I still don’t have a job.
In fact, the growing up I’ve been doing appears to be rather mundane. It’s the day to day things, the little efforts that are changing. I’ve finally been applying some of the lessons I picked up from reading that O magazine that’s always on the coffee table at home. Eat well! Look great! Feel happy! In fact, according to Oprah, all I need now is a jewel-toned twin set to achieve whatever is at the end of her aspirational rainbow.
Big change number one: I now own a hairbrush (not just one, but two brushes – these things come in spurts, apparently), so I’m looking slightly tidier.
I also bought a bike, so I suddenly get regular and vigorous exercise riding along Ottawa’s beautiful canal, which allows me to lower my cholesterol levels and get in touch with nature. And although I ride at a very leisurely pace (I have no other), I still spend the rest of the day trying to air myself out underneath the hand dryer, which allows others to notice how much exercise I’m getting, too.
Since my little adventure with cooking began, I’ve begun returning home from the grocery store overwhelmed with yuppie staples like fresh mozzarella, yellow zucchini, and Tuscan sausage, whipping up semi-elaborate meals with a total lack of modesty.
I didn’t even see that movie Julie & Julia, but it seems to have unleashed some sort of long-buried desire to revel in the sensory pleasures of anything with an expiration date.
I even clean things now. Last year I did not clean things – ever. My roommate will attest to this. But I swept the floor three days ago. And I put my shoes on the shoe rack last week (I am still working out the details of what else needs to be cleaned.)
The best part of “getting my act together” (as certain individuals have put it), is the ability to shock and amaze with skills that others would consider standard. It has been a long time since I have impressed anyone with my more prodigious skills – reading very bad novels very quickly, for example, or making up lewd limericks for people on their birthdays.
Still, lest I become the inspiration for another Margaret Wente column on spoiled, incompetent young people, let me attest that lots of third year students have long mastered basic domestic tasks, and are busy living smooth and successful daily lives.
My friend Rebecca, who is a music student at York, makes her own pasta sauce from scratch. I’m pretty sure she even had an herb garden at one point. Ivy, a forestry student at UBC, eats a lot of strange vegan-type grains, and does the stairs to Wreck Beach as a morning workout (for anyone who has not trudged up them before, these stairs appear to number around one billion.) Last year, Jess, the roommate, cooked a whole ham. A ham. It wasn’t Easter, and I don’t even think it was Sunday. She just felt like cooking up an enormous pig flank, I suppose.
Continual disarray is certainly not the rule for university students, although the road to fresh vegetables and well laundered sheets can be long and arduous, the road to adulthood even more so. However, the struggle is beautiful (or at least appreciated my roommates and Mums), and possibly inevitable.
After all, I resisted for years, and it seems to finally be catching up with me.