Jack Averty: Growing up is hard to do and who wants all the responsibility?
Adult life is absolutely terrible. There it is, it’s out there. Everyone knows it but we all try and kid ourselves because once in a blue moon something remotely interesting happens – like Christmas – and we think it’s going to be OK.
But exactly what is it that makes life so depressing at times? Juggling mortgages and ever-increasing bills? Having to actually work and not do what we want all day? Screaming kids that won’t go to sleep at night? The horrible reality of actually having responsibility?
No, the worst part of being an adult is getting excited about the most mundane, everyday things.
We can’t help it, we never expected that flipping dishwasher to bring so much joy, it just happened.
The first time the feeling hits is the worst, up there with standing on LEGO bricks and skimming a stinging nettle.
Growing up, we’d get excited about the important things – toys, sports, girls. Then – bang – next thing you know you’re in the home aisle of a supermarket studying the products furiously trying to decide which chopping board would work best with the kitchen counters.
Nobody really knows it’s happening at the time – the milk was running out, that trip to the supermarket was necessary, so who could be blamed for meandering down the fancy furnishings section?
It’s only once back home when unveiling that shiny new board with a face full of glee that it hits – this is your life, you boring idiot.
It’s a chopping board for goodness sake, and here you are beaming like you’ve just bought a boat.
How could anyone find pleasure in this?
And yet that homes catalogue is crying out from the sofa, screaming ‘come look at my fancy lampshades and sexy sofa cushions’.
Life is miserable enough with the bills, work and responsibility, the last thing we want is to become boring as well.
But like one of those naff vices from a design and technology lesson at school, it’s the little things in life that grip us hardest.
When the internet browser’s up and we’re carrying out more research than a Nasa scientist into what TV stand would best suit the lounge, a feeling of pleasure and excitement takes hold that’s hard to shake off.
Cream’s a nice colour but it might clash, the grey one is a perfect match but it’s out of stock, the oak-effect one is lovely but it has poor reviews.
Remember when nights were made up of playing video games and talking to friends? Well Fifa is now covered in dust, those friends have genuinely had to check if you’re still alive and meanwhile the lounge is still one TV stand down. Why? Because of reviews, that’s why.
They can be helpful, and they’re often very logical. The only problem is they tend to be used by highly illogical people.
It’s like spotting an item that’s more exciting than snowfall on a work day – say a pretty new crockery set – only to learn that it has poor reviews. Two-and-a-half stars just isn’t going to cut the mustard.
And so the search continues, this time for an even prettier crockery set which was stumbled upon in the bank account-draining ‘other things you might like’ suggestions that crop up on the side of the web page.
Bingo, not only does the new set have a four-and-a-half star average rating, but that average comes from more than 5,000 reviews. It’s going straight into the online shopping basket.
But wait, what’s this? Beryl in Skegness has only given the item one star, she says it is poorly packaged, looks naff and broke just days after she got it.
Well if it can happen to Beryl it can happen to anyone, abort the checkout.
Next thing you know you’re left with no friends, no cutlery, no TV stand and no fun.
As adults not only do we become utterly transfixed and delirious with the most mundane household items, we then do that God-awful thing of listening to other people’s opinions.
We never did that as a kid, why on Earth are we doing it now?
We have no idea who Beryl is, yet here we are valuing her opinion over thousands of others – even those we know.
There are many choices we make as adults. We choose what food to eat, what career path to take and whether to waste time watching England play football or not.
We are pretty good at decision-making when push comes to shove, so why aren’t we making the right ones when it comes to enjoying ourselves?
It seems to be programmed into us that buying expensive household goods will make us happy.
To make matters worse it seems the more you fight it the more you get dragged in deeper.
It starts with sofas and beds but next thing you know the measuring tape is out to see what size bin will fit the kitchen and whether having two-compartments for recycling would be better. All this effort and excitement for a contraption that has been designed to store rubbish.
We need to go back to being 12, running round like lunatics and building huge LEGO towers – that is what actual fun was, not these hoax feelings towards furnishings.
Adult life is terrible, and you can tell that to your perfectly colour co-ordinated house with matching bin, crockery and TV stand.