For starters, to prompt comments from my (sparse) readers – what is the best English equivalent of the Polish verb ogarniać się, in its recently most popular meaning, i.e. to do something do bring stuff under control? To spruce up / to smarted up which pop up when an on-line dictionary is asked, are palpable misnomers and actually render another, more traditional meaning of ogarniać się. Get a grip on oneself, get one’s act together, get hold of oneself appear to fit better, yet by no means they are perfect equivalents. Dear native speakers – any hints?
And the ogarnięcie się is a common denominator to a Polityka weekly’s ranking of twenty two changes in a life one should make before turning 30. The article has taken my fancy right away, yet after the second or third read, I have found the list weird. Nevertheless, out of curiosity I have put myself to the adulthood test… Here we go…
1. Aiming at give-and-take, since digging one’s hills in to prove one is right, gets people nowhere.
Me: Had such period, some five to three years ago when I wanted to demonstrate everyone my supremacy. With time, and having been told off by a few folks wiser than me, I have come to my senses.
2. Cutting down on alcohol. Health no longer permits, too little time to overcome hangover, not to mention dire aftermaths drinking too much.
Me: This might come to a big surprise, yet there was a time when I drank much and when I could take in a lot of alcohol. A wake-up call came after a booze in June this year, when after clearly overdosing alcohol the next day hangover was not my only problem; my kidneys refused to work and I ended up on emergency ward with symptoms of body poisoning, having to gulp instantly two litres of mineral work to kick-start the poisoned organs. Until today I feel ashamed of my irresponsible behaviour and resolved to give up on binge drinking forever.
3. Sleeping through the whole weekend – no longer apposite.
Me: Never had that problem. There are plenty of interesting things one can do over the weekend, so sleeping is a waste of time…
4. Paying off all debts, particularly those on credit cards…
Me: I have had a credit card for eight years and I have always repaid it before the end of grace period. But on the other hand I have friends for who a credit card is a source of easy spending, without minding the fact one day its balanced will need to be cleared and if it is done too late, the cost of borrowing is high.
5. Strange people all around in life. Time to get rid of them…
Me: In recent months, while trying to lift myself from the post-exam mess, I have also resolved to tell between shallow relationships and those which deserve to be fostered. Quality is more important than quantity. For one’s psyche it is more valuable to have a few dedicated friends than hundreds of acquaintances actually indifferent to you. Upshot – some phone numbers deleted from the phonebook, birthday date removed from facebook to ensure no hollow wishes next birthday and the most important – if I run across somebody on a street and put forward to meet, I call them and insist we meet! It has to said such attitude involves being very straightforward to people, something I appreciate more and more with time.
6. Stop reaching out for money to parents. It is not about living with parents, but about economic dependence.
Me: My general stance since the age of 22 when I began to earn money for which I could eke out a living is that a young man should finance all their whims from own pocket and give parents money for house maintenance. Never ever have I asked for or suggested I want money from parents, except recently, when I openly asked whether they would give me some money (up to 25% of total cost) for a purchase of a flat.
7. Holding your horses while doing shopping. Reckless spending should become thing of the past.
Me: Never been fond of gadgets and saved for a flat, so again, not my problem. Yet self-indulgence is a problem I observe with many people, regardless of their age. It is a matter of character and habits, not the age, I would claim.
8. Giving up smoking.
Me: never had a cigarette in my mouth.
9. Announcing parties on facebook – no longer on.
Me: Have never done it, being restraint with facebook. Reality is off-line and may it stay so… I guess here the author began to run out of bright ideas what else to add to the list…
10. Regular and consistent work-out to keep body fit.
Me: Since my commute to work is too simple and repeatable (car & underground) and work is sedentary, this makes a necessity. Dance classes once a week, swimming pool once a week and twenty minutes of exercise a day (yet not every day) do their bit, yet I feel it is not enough.
11. Healthy food: time to abandon junk food and the likes.
Me: Never been fond of McDonald’s / kebab-style eateries, yet eating out in town or buying ready meals from catering door-to-door company is not the most commendable form of nutrition. Maybe time to learn to cook something more complicated and begin to prepare lunches to work on one’s own?
12. Taking care of one’s skin. Problems with acme are long gone, but wrinkles being to appear.
Me: A piece of advice aimed rather at females, yet I use a liquid and a gel for face skin if I am to confess.
13. Taking responsibility of one’s deeds is how a mature man behaves…
14. Décor of one’s room / flat which does not resemble a teenager’s room.
Me: I parted with this part of décor in room when my parents and I moved to NI when I was 16…
15. Splurging money at painting the town red. Going out to town from time to time is okay, but not every day.
Me: See comment to point #7. Plus… Roaming around town once in blue moon or more often, if one can afford it, is no evil.
16. Spend more time with family and care more about relatives.
Me: What I crave for is my own family. Of course, and especially as an only child, I will have to take care of my parents, yet not at the expense of personal life.
17. Minding the cleanness / tidiness at home as yet another proof of maturity.
Me: I dislike scruffiness, I do not feel at ease in messy interior. The question is whether it runs in genes or is an effect of upbringing…
18. Carrying things through… Once an adult sets about doing something, they strive to complete it, against all odds.
Me: Those who know me, know the answer…
19. An elephant’s memory is not a good advisor. The ability to forgive and rebuild tattered relationships is vital in adult life.
Me: My ambition is not to take umbrage nor to kick up a fuss, no matter how lousy circumstances are. Resentments, though sometimes inevitable, should stay in the darkest nooks and crannies of human minds. Yet forgive cannot always mean forget.
20. Taking care of your teeth…
Me: Again, needless to say… What a truism…
21. Start saving… Setting up a savings account or a pension plan seem reasonable…
Me: See points #7 and #15
22. Age awareness. Turning 30 should prompt you to act your age, live consciously, yet live it up!
Me: Sometimes it seems I go over the top in this respect and if I rejuvenated myself, I would be better off. Youth after all is not behind me.
For some reasons, the list could have been supplemented with many other points reflect expectation a society has towards people aged around 30. And for some reasons, they have not been put on the list. The author has not mentioned getting married, having children, finding a permanent job or moving out of parents’ dwelling. Had the two former been listed, boundaries of an individual’s privacy would have been encroached upon. If finding a spouse is often a matter of luck or being out of luck while more and more people for biological reasons cannot have children, urging people to do something about it would be out of place. While in the era of junk contracts, commanding young people to make career and set up own households might indicate the author is out of touch…
I only wonder why turning 30 has been set as milestone for the end of carefree youth? If formally one becomes adult at the age of 18 and many people fly the nest shortly thereafter to begin studies away from home and often need to fend for themselves, why 30? Indeed, the age at which people do something about their lives increased in the recent decades but has the omnipresent cult of youth done the job? Is the fear of entering adulthood (or rather taking responsibilities) here to blame? Or is it just a simple desire to remain young as long as possible? And, after all, why cannot the words: young, responsible, mature, go together?