gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

A Gradult finds he ain't no adult yet.

Last summer I was found guilty of violent disorder towards my bank account, and sentenced to six months incarceration in the family home. You know your finances aren’t in great shape when you’re borrowing money off your mum to go to the pub and still sheepishly accepting the odd silver to make up enough for that vital third pint. Pocket money in your twenties is a humbling experience. But after six months of intense financial rehabilitation I was deemed no longer a threat to my debit card and released, blinking and bewildered, back into the real world.

Shock much? When a lion gets put into captivity, the zoo keepers can’t just put it back on the plains because it will end up getting picked on by a couple of surly zebras. In this scenario – and probably only this scenario – I’m the lion. And my never ending list of chores is the aforementioned zebras. It's a metaphor, go with it.

The way I see it, if I finish work at 7, I have five solid hours to do as I please before bed and the whole thing starts again. A stay-at-home gradult can exploit these to the fullest. As an adult apparently I get very little say to how they are allocated. Instead my spare time is dictated by all manner of mundane chores.

Cooking for one. Getting the food, preparing the food, washing up the food. No wonder I’ve never made a meal with more than three components. If this whole process takes an hour, that’s 20% of my allotted free time! One fifth of my relaxation period gone for a plate of substandard pasta? It’s enough to make me long for the days when I’d get in from the call centre to the welcoming scent of a chilli con carne.

Don’t get me started on laundry. It seems I won’t even consider a wash until I’ve reached full on crisis mode. I go to bed wondering what socks I’m actually going to wear tomorrow. Then convince myself I’ll sort it out in the morning. How?! Unless a Primark opens in my room overnight, I’m very much wearing them red ones again aren’t I? They’re distinctive. People will notice. It seems not a day goes by where I’m not thinking about doing a wash, actually doing a wash or asking myself: am I ever going to do a wash? The fact that I’m two months into a two week internship and still have the same bag of clothes I arrived with means I’m never free of this perpetual cycle of hassle.

Then there’s the standard of living I'd gotten used to. There is something enjoyable about getting out the shower and not being greeted by the intruding grope of a damp towel. Call me old fashioned but I’d rather see a bit of greenery in my front garden, rather than a pair of cats slugging it out for first go on a half eaten microwavable lasagne.

On the surface, with a full time job in a career I’m looking to pursue I’m starting to resemble an adult. Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll see I’m still very much a gradult.

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