NON-FICTION//How To Be A Grown Up- Daisy Buchanan*

How To Be A Grown Up (Jan):  Let me tell you a secret: I am 33 in eight weeks’ time and I still don’t feel like a grown up. This is despite me having the following ‘grown up’ things: a four-year-old child; a husband of almost six years (who’s somehow managed to stick around for eleven years); a responsible job in which I am in loco parentis for at least fifteen hours a week; a mortgage; an annoying cat; an anxiety disorder that sometimes borders on the chronic. I very rarely miss work due to illness. OK, I can’t drive (it’s my gift to humanity. I get too distracted by cows and clouds and music to concentrate), but if there was a scale of how ‘grown up’ I am, on paper I would probably score pretty highly. But I still have the feeling that someone will come to my classroom one day and yank me out, claiming that they’re finally on to me- despite the fact that I’ve done my job for TEN YEARS. Most people feel this way- and so successful writer and agony aunt, Daisy Buchanan has written a guide that manages to a) reassure the reader that they’re doing OK, b) that they’re not alone in the madly confusing landscape of adulthood and c) that if something truly goes horrendously wrong, there are ways that it can be fixed.

The advice in the book rings true because Buchanan has been there herself- it reads like it’s part self-help, part memoir and is full of things she’s experienced:  the horrible relationships and the fear of her overdraft; she’s been sacked and faced depression. There are also snippets of the experience of women of all ages, discussing everything from body image and moving back in with your parents. The advice is sound, funny and relatable (also, you’ll never wash your hair in the same way again. FACT.) As I was reading this, I realised that I would have loved to have read something like this ten years ago and that I would now quite like to force copies into the hands of younger friends- because it’s so useful to have some of this stuff down on paper, even if it’s not all relevant to you. And you don’t mind the advice being offered because it’s done in a funny, no-nonsense way. We all need friends who tell us when we’re being ridiculous, but it’s also good to have something that tells us it’s not just us, that others are in the same boat.

This book also gave me a bit of a kick up the backside. It’s made me really think about where I am career-wise and whether I want to start seriously considering upping my freelance career (again- hello writing copy for weird credit card companies!) and it also made me want to get back into yoga, if only to quieten my mind a bit when it gets a bit whirry. I don’t know what my future holds, but I hope that this book helps others feel better about a world that can seem horribly overwhelming.

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