Obligations: or how I learned to grow up and iron a Goddamn shirt

by Rope
This would be an amazing business shirt

This would be an amazing business shirt

I guess one of the real tricks of adult life – one of the ways you can tell that you are, in fact, growing up – is figuring out how to get stuff done that you don’t want to do without being a total asshole. The asshole’s way out is often pretty straightforward; you bully or manipulate someone else into doing it, or refuse and figure out some kind of excuse, you pretend you never knew you were supposed to do it in the first place. The ways of being an asshole are many and multifaceted. The asshole’s way out doesn’t work when it’s stuff for yourself. You have to be extraordinarily self-deceptive to convince yourself it’s someone else’s fault you didn’t do your laundry and now you have no clean socks.

It’s really around that point a person can turn into a decent human being (aka “adult” – with the caveat  that there are many old people who never actually grew up, and are still assholes, and consequently Not Adults) by beginning to do themselves favours, and then realising that the rest of the people in the world are also human beings with, you know, real emotions and suchlike. This is the beginning of a process I like to call “having your shit together”, which for the purposes of this exercise is basically synonymous with being a decent person.

I don’t hate ironing with the passion a lot of people seem to. Maybe because the process of taking a substandard state of affairs and improving it is something I gravitate directly towards. Even if you Hate That Shit with a focus bordering on professional, you can overcome it by a) parking your ironing board in front of a TV series you like and sort of half-paying-attention and b) bearing in mind that the main person you are helping out is your own damn self. When you get up for a workday and your shirt is ironed and your lunch is made and your socks are paired and Shit is Generally Together – well heck son, you can give yourself a big old smooch. You just did that for you.

So far, this has had a slightly laundry based focus, but that’s just a handy analogue (and also I fucking love laundry). The point is that there comes a time in your life when skipping your responsibilities and “doing whatever your want” actually makes your life harder and what you realise is: that shit is, on balance, making your life worse. I intend to more fully investigate the concept of having your shit together in upcoming weeks (LUCKY Y’ALL) but what I wanted to say for now is not so much that You Need to Grow Up and This Is How To Do It so much as sometimes, well after the fact, you look at your life and say


Looks like I grew up some.

Laundry might be the reason you grow up (but probably not, I’m a weirdo). What does make you grow up is having something you care about that you’re also responsible  for. Your obligations are self-imposed.


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