‘EXPECTATION IS THE ROOT OF ALL HEARTACHE’

It’s funny how some sayings stick in your mind. “Whit’s fur ye, will no go by ye!” is probably one of the most common ones I remember, and to anyone reading this, try reading it in a broad Scottish accent, a bit like this, “Whh-its fur yeh’ell no go bye yeh!!” If you’re still having trouble making sense of it all, don’t worry, I’ll translate for you. Basically, if something you really wanted to happen, for one reason or another, doesn’t manifest itself, then don’t worry – that thing was never meant for you anyway. This kind of line would usually be recited to you as some form of comfort in a time of need. Imagine being dumped, and devastated? This is usually something your granny would say, swiftly followed by another saying like, “there’s plenty more fish in the sea!” like your home town isn’t filled with slimy eel fish.

While there’s many an idiom, none could be more appropriate to summarise adulthood than the title of this blog post. How can that be true, I hear you all ask? Well, dearest darling readers, let me share with you, not only how expectation in general is the root of all heartache, but how 2020 gave birth to a new level of disappointment.

£100 is actually not a lot of money.

I remember at those girly sleepovers, playing games, eating junk and talking about what we would all do if we were given £100. Squealing that we would be rich, we’d take turns relaying the endless things we would buy with £100!

I’d probably suggested buying flares, platform trainers (like The Spice Girls), concert tickets, the entire nail varnish range from Collection 2000 and the Playmobil Victorian house. But then I grew up, and while yes £100 is a lot of cash when you don’t have any, it doesn’t actually stretch that far. At a push, you could maybe get the worst seat in the house at a Lady Gaga concert…

To put things into perspective, let me tell you exactly what £100 could buy you in Dubai:

  • A dress (maybe) in Zara
  • A taxi to Abu Dhabi
  • A small food shop
  • One month’s phone bill
  • Two weeks of a one month’s gym membership
  • A gelish mani/pedi

It does not buy you:

  • A cut, colour and blow-dry
  • A Jo Malone candle
  • Anything in The White Company

£100 becomes even less money when you’re made redundant. It practically vanishes into thin air, spent on tragic things like bills, transport and food, and not a platform shoe in sight. If you don’t reign in the coffee expenditures, a daily Starbucks will leave you flat out broke – especially if dairy free fancy ones are your game.

Getting your own house will be so much fun ’cause you can decorate HOWEVER YOU WANT.

Okay first and foremost, unless you’re Richard Branson’s wife, money unfortunately is an object, and normal people have budgets. Discovering that everything you painstakingly pinned on your lock down Pinterest board accumulatively costs more than the entire value of your new house, is quite disheartening to say the least, as is finding out the price of 100% linen sheets from The White Company. But you know what’s even more disheartening? Realising that cookers and ovens come in different sizes after you’d bought the wrong size. Second hand.

That’s right readers, cookers are not manufactured in a universal one-size-fits-all scale, and if you think that’s bad, discovering that toilet suites also come under this realm too was particularly painful. Especially when the plumber didn’t speak a word of English, or Arabic. In fact, he wasn’t actually a plumber at all – he was the Plumber’s apprentice, working at the showroom of the plumber – the tea boy if you will, only we didn’t know this in the beginning, obviously.

If you thought that the level of searing disappointments couldn’t get much worse, you’d be very mistaken. The piece de resistance had to be that startling realisation that instead of fitting the new suite in the downstairs guest bathroom,, he had instead renovated the unused maid’s bathroom, and since he wasn’t plumber in the first instance, he didn’t know how to put the old toilet back. Yes… now we had a small ‘roach issue in the guest bathroom thanks to a gaping hole as a reminder of the shambolic botch job, as well as a kids paddling pool swirling around the maids bathroom floor.

While the next level of disappointment in the story isn’t quite as disappointing as the bathroom escapade, it was disappointing nonetheless. In my daydreams, I pictured myself prancing around home stores, buying everything that caught my eye, my mum in tow nodding in agreement as she helped me choose statement pieces for my home. Finally! I’d be a real adult! I’d have nice matching plates and beautiful curtains! My house would be littered with Jo Malone candles, the smell of Pomegranate Noir permeating the air. Even my pyjamas would be more chic. (In my day dreams, I’d be wearing ones that resembled something out of a John Lewis advert, whilst complimenting the interiors of my impeccable home). What I didn’t consider in those daydreams was having a partner that also liked to choose home furnishings, and who hated fragranced candles. In reality, my partner has his own taste, and I have mine. Most of the time, our styles are similar, but sometimes there is a real clash.For example, the curtains. Don’t even mention curtains to me – we might have survived lockdown, but surviving the curtain saga was almost another thing. Pinterest might have shown me beautiful wave curtains, but Pinterest did not show me the ugly rails that came alongside it…

I’d also just like to clarify that while I am in a new house, I am still wearing the same mismatched and bobbly old pyjamas that I’ve always had because firstly they are cosy, and secondly the house swallowed up so much capitol that I won’t even be buying a cup of tea from John Lewis this year, let alone fancy pants, cashmere pjs!

Eating Pop Tarts, Frosties and Coco Pops every morning for breakfast isn’t really a nutritionally balanced diet.

Not only are they full of sugar, leaning closer towards the dessert spectrum of food than a healthy breakfast, they aren’t filling, so a measly two hours later, you’re already halfway through your packed lunch before realising that it’s going to be another eight long hours until dinner! I never did understand how something as small and light as Coco Pops or Poptarts be so calorific???

As grown adult, expecting daily breakfast to be as good as dessert is just setting yourself up for heartbreak, and even more heartbreaking is staring into a plate of Kale and trying to convince yourself that it’s YUMMY! Also, cereals just seem to never expire, unlike fresh vegetables, which in Dubai have an expected shelf life of about twelve hours before they turn mouldy. How disappointing!

Expecting everyone to come to the party.

I could never be a party planner, but not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. As a Virgo, planning baby showers, bon voyage, and birthday parties are a colour themed dream. We love organising, but you know what I don’t love? Flakiness.

It’s extremely hypocritical of me to say this when I am quite possibly the biggest flake of all time. I’m as big a hypocrite as Paris Hilton that one time she was heading the electoral campaign’s drive encouraging the American youth to vote, only she herself didn’t bother tovote. BUT, when I invite you with a months notice, just know that if you text me the night before, apologising and telling me that you’re so sorry but you forgot that it’s your boyfriend’s cousin’s aunt’s hamsters engagement party this weekend, just know that I know, that you’re lying.

I know you just can’t be arsed, or that something better probably came up, like a Tinder date with a 5 out of 10. Maybe you don’t like socialising when you don’t know the other people there. I get it. I do. I just can’t help but be bitterly disappointed and question myself as a friend when people bail last minute.

Next!

Adopting a cat in the pursuit of a cuddly, lap animal

My mum has a little cat who literally has separation anxiety the moment he is no longer sat on her lap. Closer to her than her own shadow, he needs to be within reach of her at all times. If he was a boyfriend, he’d be a clinger. In fact, you’d probably dump him or take out a restraining order for being too needy. Either-way, this is kind of the relationship I was envisioning on the drive to the animal shelter to choose a little cat to take home.

When I saw her, I held her in my arms like a baby and she stayed, purring away. This is the one!

Only, she had me fooled. Just like those dresses online never quite look the same when delivered, the cuddly shelter cat turned out to be the very opposite of a lap cat. Nothing like my mum’s cat, she played football, sat for treats, attacked lizards (and sometimes feet). She’d claw the rug, cry at night, lick my face… basically everything but cuddle.

I’d always swore that when my feet were firmly back on the ground, I’d adopt a little cat, and post quarantine, post redundancy… it felt like a good time. Picturing boyfriend on the sofa watching football, me and the cat curled up on the other side of the couch with a book and a cuppa. That was the dream. The reality? A cat who loves watching football more than boyfriend does.

Playing house was much more fun than it is in reality.

Now that I’m grown up, I often wonder why I was so infatuated with the concept of playing ‘house’ in the playground with my friends. I’d cart my dolly everywhere, even though she had a club foot from that one time my Granda decided to play football with her. I’d pretend ‘cook’ dinner, and go to the pretend shop, scanning my fake barcodes on miniature plastic supermarket food.

Just like that Tom Hanks movie, I couldn’t wait to be ‘big’. I even told my mum that when I got married, I’d wear lace up, knee high white boots. Thankfully, there’s been no wedding.

I don’t think I had really noticed it before. Or maybe it was just the absence of other tasks during quarantine that made the tasks seem so endless. “Do you ever just feel like you’re stuck in a rut of dishes???” I whined to my mum, who patiently sat at the other end of the line. “And then once you’ve done the breakfast dishes, it’s already time to use new dishes for lunch!!! It’s like one long bloody Groundhog Day of dishes, laundry and cooking. Is this how life is now???” Apparently yes. That was life now.

If I’d caught a glimpse of a lock down future, I’d go back and give seven year old me a stern pep talk. Maybe even tell her to reign in “house” a bit. “Focus more on the Barbies!” I’d tell her. Barbie gets to have all the fun, I’d say, and she doesn’t get insecure about her weight. She can also walk in skyscraper heels.

Fast foward to now, when lock down has eased and we are allowed to see other people again. As my friend proudly showed me around her new house, she beamed at me. “AND LOOK!!! A DISHWASHER!”. I beamed with her, because I can honestly tell you that the best, best, BEST thing ever about my new house, is that it has a dishwasher too!

I never pictured this day… where my friend and I, who used to get so excited over clothes and nights out, would be this excited over a dishwasher. How lame!

Adult acne.

Acne. My dear old friend. Whenever we talk about acne, minds are immediately cast to pubescent, sweaty teenagers with too much gel in their hair. This is a common misconception, and to be honest, it is the most disappointing of all. Okay… maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but seriously??? How can your face have acne and wrinkles at the same time? How!? How is this fair??? Acne is to be expected as a teenager, and wrinkles are anticipated as we age. Unfortunately for me, adulthood blessed me with both, at the same time, and then gave me a surgical face mask and forced me to wear it at all times in 45 degree heat. Not only does that mask help hide the carnage, but it also adds to the pimple party – helping my spots multiply each and every time I’ve been outside for an hour.

I can’t tell you, how frustrating it is, to be in your thirties, trying to ‘look the part’ of an adult, but being greeted by a spot full of chin chin full of spots. How can anyone take me seriously when I have flit between a blue surgical mask, and a faint red beard looking outline going on? And as if this wasn’t disappointing enough in itself, even more harrowing is the price of a Dermatology appointment, and the consequential prescribed medications. I paid £250 to be told that there was a huge spike in adult acne thanks to masks.

I know I went into adulthood, expecting a lot. A wedding with white knee high lace up boots and a house were one thing. Acne, dishes and domestic quarrels over curtains were not. And as I kissed boyfriend underneath the fireworks at New Year, I was excited for the adventures ahead – holidays! Parties! Cosy nights in.

I just didn’t expect three solid months of cosy nights in without another soul in sight.

So what’s the answer to this quandary? Should we simply lower our standards, ensuring that we will always be pleasantly surprised by what the year ahead brings us? After all, perfection isn’t really attainable anyway. Should we just go around expecting the worst? Pessimistic Pam has quite a ring to it… But on reflection, since we all have had a lot of time for that this year, somewhere, I think I am thankful for them. Covid has not only forced the world to slow down, but it’s also taught me to slow down and count my blessings. The let downs in life help me appreciate things all the more when they go better than expected. But I’ll let you know for definite next week after my birthday.

*Covid also taught me that I have a disgusting shopping habit and probably do not need to buy any clothing until 2025.

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