I am sitting near the window at the Pret near St Paul. Outside it is sunny and raining, the type of British shower that still makes my Greek mind spin. I am having a vanilla chai with a disproportionate milk to water ratio (it is actually white), and I am contemplating throwing the two packs of white sugar in when the discussion of the young couple next me creeps in my consciousness.
They must be about 18, the girl wears a mustard coat and her hair in a bun, the boy wears skinny jeans and newly polished shoes. They are talking about looking for a job, and how it is a ridiculous that they have not heard back from some applications yet.
I think that we are deceived about grownups and growing up when we are kids. You see, when I was a kid, I thought that there was this moment that you became a grown up; full stop. With the flick of a switch, you became an adult and lived as one. Now on the other side, I know that is not true. Growing up is a process that mostly feels unpleasant; you realise that the world does not revolve around you, that not everyone will love you, and that life is not an HBO series. You learn through the pain and grasp on the happiness, and you realise that the world is not as safe as you thought it was, and that makes every moment even more precious.
When I speak with people that are younger than me, I recognise that sense of entitlement that comes with that age, especially at the job front. The shock of not getting a call from an application; the awe of not getting the job after the interview; the crushing realisation that you might not get all the attention that you deserve from your boss, that your manager will use your ideas as his own, or that not everyone is your friend. I don’t judge these things, because I experienced them too. It just makes me think of how growing up chips a part of the me-centric quality of youth, and how this can be devastating at the moment, but quite liberating in the long run. I don’t know whether to feel jealousy or pity for the ones that have not gone through this, and their life, wealth or luck has brought it so that they do not have to experience it. I think it might be a mixture of both.
I look out, and the shower has stopped. I put the two sugars in, and place the lid on my cup. I want to tell the couple next to me that it will all work out, even if it doesn’t go as planned, but I know better than to do that -besides, I think, I need to remind myself that too sometimes; and so, I do.