Building forts in the living room: I'm not sure there was ever a past-time greater than that. Granted, once you're in the midst of your twenties you can do extraordinary things like drive cars in giraffe onesies and drink old fruit until you're a giddy, hysterical mess, and enjoy soul-stirring adventures across the world, and have sex, and eat all of the cheese in your fridge without being shouted at... But FORTS! There was no joy quite like it.
Your Grandma's vintage floral bedspread draped over the dining table chairs. The threadbare blankets that used to warm your flailing limbs when you were young enough to be cradled. Every single cushion in the house. An oversized, snuggly jumper. A sandwich stuffed with cheap ham and ready salted crisps. A Gameboy. Blistering naivety. Daydreams about being an astronaut and writing books and dating Gareth Gates and owning houses and cars and drinking Martinis at lunchtime and wearing a wide, beaming smile like a fresh tattoo. Daydreams about being somewhere far beyond the cotton walls of this fortress, oblivious to the fact that within it you are at your happiest and safest: untouched by time, curled up, in this sweet, sweet decade where you're not fully aware of what the world is capable of.
Adulthood. It's a funny old thing, isn't it? You spend so much of your life waiting for it, anticipating it, making all of these sugar-coated grand plans within which you are the BEST adult ever and are in total control of your life. And then without ever noticing the transition, you're in it. Woah. You're expected to do actual grown up shit like deal with urinary tract infections and keep yourself alive and meet the expectations of your boss and fulfil your grand potential and not smear the remainders of your peanut butter sandwich over your brother's xbox just for the lolz. You're expected to know how hideous and emotionally exhausting and terrifying it can be to be alive: to be so human and so vulnerable, without letting it drive you to insanity. You're expected to do all of this whilst still feeling, in a tiny, wonderful corner of your heart, that you might actually still be 12. What?
I'm going to be honest. It absolutely fucking terrifies me. I got older, but I didn't fully grow up. I am wearing the coat of adulthood: embellished and beautiful, its deep pockets bursting with unsailed seas and raucous laughter and a million curious adventures, and I'm excited about the possibilities, I am, but this coat feels bloody heavy on my shoulders. The sleeves are a little baggy. The buttons won't do up. And I am scared. I am trying to pave the magical, memorable, cobbled 'path' of my own existence on this planet, using crumbling bricks and brittle slabs, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING, AND IT IS LIABLE TO FALL APART AT ANY MOMENT. D'ya feel me?
Of course you do. Or at least you did.
And that might just be the most comforting thing in the world right now.