I am going to be 26 next February. It’s not particularly old, and the majority of the time I don’t feel particularly old; however, when I see a CV for someone born in 2001 I start feeling a little bit ancient. I sit flicking through Facebook feeling a little bit envious of anyone younger than me getting dressed up and going out on a Friday night instead of nursing, both breast and makeshift health professional, a poorly, rash-covered toddler. Even thinking that I am now a mother of a toddler makes me feel old. My most rock and roll event of last week was ordering different things on Ocado.
I find myself getting obsessed with cleaning, a theme seen with a lot of my friends my age, and I am so obsessed with it that I am willing to start arguments over it. That was never me! I was a bona-fide slob kabob, and yet I now find myself secretly following Ian and Savannah round and round with a bottle of spray Dettol and extra-absorbent kitchen roll.
I talk to some friends about flowers, some about mortgages and some about deals at supermarkets. We bitch about our babies and partners, or get jealous of single and childless people travelling the world. We talk about arguments and moan about how we cook and clean and seem to do everything with no appreciation or thanks. In fact I seem to moan about everything without meaning to, and whenever I’m asked how I am I reply “tired!” almost automatically. There aren’t many conversations about going out and getting bladdered anymore. I look at old pictures of myself on nights out and get bitter about how thin and carefree I was, and how differently I would do things again if I knew what I knew now. I honestly never pictured growing up to be this dull. You spend your whole childhood wishing you could be older, and then all of a sudden you want desperately to be younger again.
Recently we have also put our house on the market in an attempt to move to a house without a million steps (we live on a fourth floor flat with no lift), and with a garden. This stressful and ridiculous process makes me feel older, and I would argue that has aged me years in a matter of 6 months. I went into it quite naively thinking that we would sort ours out, list it and sell it in weeks, and be in a lovely new home straight away. Instead, we sorted it out, and packed away all of our mounds of shit into any cupboard, draw or empty space we found and it has not sold yet, so we are living out of boxes just in case someone wants to view it. Poor Savannah has had most her toys moved and has been with left with a handful of nice-looking ones that she doesn’t seem to have much interest in. I’m also a bit of a bitch about mess, and am constantly cleaning every surface and keeping nice bath mats and towels aside, just in case a potential buyer would be put off by seeing a towel with a few loose threads on it.
The sorting of the house has been a pain in the arse, but nowhere near as draining as dragging this poor baby and husband around 20 or 30 houses trying to find “the one”, or trying to sort our finances into some kind of sense for the accountant and mortgage lady. Having to climb into Narnia style wardrobes to retrieve bank statements, p60s and house plans because I thought I was smart storing them right at the back where no one could see them has become a daily occurrence for both of us, and it will only get worse when we eventually manage to buy a house and sell ours. Having viewed so many houses we have been registered with nearly every estate agent in the south, and therefore I have apparently signed up to receiving upwards of 10 calls a day from various agencies informing me of new houses I “must” see as soon as possible, or informing me that my current agent is not up to the job like they would be.
I spend a lot of my day on rightmove, I mean a lot! My mum does the same, and we text each other to let the other one know about new houses. If and when I find one that I like, I flip it on to Ian, who then has to sit there whilst I take him through the pictures, floorplan, streetview, schools and previous sold prices. I can honestly say that once we have made this move I will be not be doing it again in any rush. I will also be changing my number so I don’t have to be hounded by the masses of agencies that have my number. For now I thankfully have realised that I can use Savannah as an excuse for getting out of any phone call or viewing which is a God sent! We are quite regimental with viewings and try to get in and out as quickly as possible in order to not let Savannah realise she can get down and walk/run around, but when an agent or “vendor” (fancy new word of the month) wants to talk I have on the odd occasion given her a little poke to make her fuss and enable me to leave. The first time I did this was when the homeowner’s nan was in the living/bed/bath room watching On the Buses with her huge grey pants hanging around her on a makeshift washing line. New build ey? The fucking artistic licence estate agents have is amazing; I know my house looks cleaner and neater on our pictures, but nowhere am I hiding a goat gnawing on a mattress in the back garden (a genuine experience I promise you!)
And the worst thing of all is the arguments with Ian about houses, prices and locations, because we are two different people, with lots of different ideas, and that obviously clashes with spending the bulk of your worth on one item. Ian is, was, Northern, and resents the prices you pay in and around Windsor, especially with the knowledge that we could sell our flat and buy a 6 bedroom period mansion for nearly the same price just outside of York. But then my old woman mentality prevents me from moving more than 15, 20 at a push, minutes from my friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I am not retarded and fully understand why he wants to move there. We have both looked at rightmove and grumbled about what we could have in comparison, but unless everyone I love is prepared to move with me it just won’t be happening, and so we clash. It would probably be better for us both if we could find a location half way between where we both want, and then split the house in half so we could have the style of house we like.
I love the idea of getting a house that needs doing up so I can turn hours worth of Pinterest hunting and pinning into a reality, but high prices make this restrictive along with the fact that we nearly killed each other just having the kitchen redone. I also want a garden so Savannah can run free like an animal, and so we can plant flowers and vegetables together (see what I mean about premature ageing!) and Ian wants lots of space, a garage and something already perfect so we can just move in and carry on, which again is not as realistic as he would like to think. This relocation business will either be the making or breaking of us!
I imagine that my premature ageing will only get worse as I actually age, but I just hope that this moving process will hurry the fuck up so that I’m not hobbling round Marks at the age of 35 looking and sounding like I’m 60. On the plus side, I have been asked for my ID 3 times in the last month, and on the one occasion I didn’t have it I was refused cigarettes and told I look 17-18. It took a few days for the anger at waiting all these years to not need to carry my ID around to pass before I started feeling rather smug about what the lovely petrol station lady had said.