1. Frequent trips to the Post Office.

If you ever wake up and spend the first five minutes of your coming-to-consciousness trying to figure out when you can slip in a quick trip to the Post Office – then you have grown up. There’s no hope for you, it’s done. And I’m just not ready for it, quite yet. I know, I know, I’m turning 24 in ten days, but I still can’t see how a trip to the Post Office will become a necessity – although I’m sure banks, insurance companies, and government billing offices feel differently. I’d rather spend the time browsing the bookshelves of a second-hand bookstore, baking muffins, or feeding the ducks at Zoo Lake. I do what I want.
2. Letting go of the belief that I’m still a Party Animal.

My mum frequently voices her concern as to how early I launched into the World of night-clubs and all-nighters – but even more concerning to her, is how long I’ve managed to keep it up! I mean, I’m going on a good ten years here! And I’m STILL not done! She believes any self-respecting adult (yuck) gets over these urges, but call it FOMO or a quarter-life-crisis, whatever the reason, 48-hour long trance parties have never seemed more appealing!
3. Marriage. Or being alone forever. Actually, both.

Now, I know I’m weird. I know, this. Read my blog and you’ll know this, too. But I can’t quite explain what it is I’m looking for when it comes to relationships as a whole. I mean, no one likes to feel lonely. There’s a huge difference between feeling lonely and being alone, and I’m fine being alone. However, when I start to feel lonely, then I freak out and convince myself that my best years are behind me and I will never find someone whose willing to take on a relationship with a ‘special case’ like me. But then I hear my parents talking about how they’ll never have any trouble “getting rid of me” (a.k.a. marrying me off) and I start to hyper-ventilate with commitment-phobe related anxiousness. It’s a conundrum, which has led me to the rather apathetic (and cop-out) notion of “what will be, will be.”
4. Getting a ‘real’ job.

You know, I’ve always been really quite fine with the notion of a pay check. Receiving money once a month, which see’s you live out your days for the following month, splitting up the cash between bills, bars and any other pursuits that might need a little cash thrown in their direction. However, I don’t know how I feel about the working bit that leads to the reception of this pay check. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never be adverse to hard work. I’m extremely diligent, and I am a perfectionist who will dedicate time, effort and care to everything. However, the idea of launching myself into a job for an extended period of time is somewhat daunting. Adults work, everyday, five days a week, from 8 ’til 5. And all I keep thinking is when will I find the time to play??
5. Sensodyn tooth paste.
Need I even explain this one? Is your mind not, too, filled with images of old folk brushing what’s left of the four or five teeth in their swollen, offishly-pink gums in an effort to not suffer from the “extreme” temperatures of their predominantly liquified food?! Yikes.
6. To be apart of the Next Generation.

On the occasion of the death of my Grandmother, nearly two years ago, I remember thinking “that’s it.” She was the last of my grandparents to pass away, and that meant my parents, aunts and uncles were the next generation up for that looming era of “old age” – however near or far it may be. Well, I’ve realised I’m not ready. I’m not prepared for my parents to go – not in any way close. And I know it sounds stupid, but I’m not prepared to have had 18-years less with them than my 18-years older brother.   I remember watching my father write out the eulogy he was to say for his father’s death, and feeling this overwhelming sense of dispair at the thought that I, too, will have this experience in my future. I’m not ready to open myself up to the thought that my parents just might not live forever.

It’s safe to say that I’ve had some pretty terrible relationships in the past, with men who probably weren’t the best fit for me. However, it’s nothing to regret or wish away. Every relationship we have will end until the one that doesn’t anymore. And every interaction with another person, be it for a month or five years, allows us to learn more about ourselves, as well as what we need from a relationship and a partner. However, this process of learning is made useless if we can’t articulate it. And so, bear with me as I try to define to you how I will know when I’ve found him, the man of my dreams.

He’ll buy me books. And not because I can’t afford to. Oh no. It’s usually a safe bet to assume that I’d rather live off cereal for a month than go a couple of weeks without the purchase of a new book. He will buy me books because he’ll know how very happy it makes me. He’ll know how in love I am with the weight of an entire world in my hands, and the smell and feel of the pages as I follow the author’s words on a journey unlike any other. And because he loves me, he will buy me books.

He’ll be nice to me. My parents have been married for 42 years, and when asked what the secret was to their success, the answer was simple. It was a reference to the film Venus, wherein a senior citizen explores a love affair with a much younger woman. When asked what it is he can provide her that no other man has given her before, he merely replies: “I’m nice to her.” This moment dictates my parents’ relationship in that they realised that it was the very least you could do for the person with which you intended to spend the majority of your life. So, the man of my dreams will be nice to me. And not because I ask him to be, or because he’ll feel he has to be. He’ll be nice to me, because being any other way towards me never even crossed his mind.

There will be no need to imagine the potential in him, or us, because it will be all I ever dreamt it would be – and more. This may sound like a tall order, but when it comes to forever and finding the one person next to whom you want to wake up for everyday of the rest of your life, we should never, ever drop our standards. He will be the kind of man with whom I can be whether things are going well or not. I don’t care if we make millions in our first year together and live comfortably for the rest of our days, or if we’re bankrupt and sleeping under bridges every night. He will want to be with me regardless, and I with him. It won’t be about putting off our happiness until things are better, because no matter how things are in that moment, happiness will be he and I. Together.

He will go on adventures with me – even if it entails nothing more than trying to find a different route home in the dead of night. Impulsivity is, I believe, the key to staying young. That doesn’t mean never making plans or sticking to the plans you’ve made. But there are few things more riveting than coming home one day to find both of your bags packed because he’s decided you’re getting out of the city for the weekend. Or perhaps, you want to try something new such as surfing or kloofing. If I suggest it, the best answer he could ever give me would be “why not?” It may sound a cliche, but I want to live a big and beautiful life – and he’ll want to live one with me.

As bad as any fight gets, I won’t be afraid that he’ll leave me. It may stem from the many experiences I’ve had with men over the years, or the fact that I never saw my parents fight and make up when I was growing up. But when I fight with him, I won’t be gripped by the fear that it will end us. It’s taken me a while, but I’m slowly learning that couples can – and ought to – fight, without it being the be all and end all of the entire relationship. And whilst I know I’ll still get scared, he’ll understand this. And he’ll remember to remind me, even in the middle of the screaming match in which plates and pillows are flying at one another’s heads, that he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

He’ll be real, flaws and all. I don’t want perfect. I want flawed. Because I’m flawed. Oh man, am I flawed. These flaws will never mean we treat one another badly, however. And whilst we may take one another for granted sometimes, it won’t be too hard to remember how wildly, crazily and incomprehensibly we love one another. I want to know him, warts and all. And I want to be known. I want that connection wherein words need not be used, but everything is understood and clear. Even if we aren’t near one another the whole night we’re out with friends, a single look need be all that lets me know I’m the one he came with, and I’ll be the one he leaves with. And if that look has a smile beneath it that makes me blush, well, that’s alright too.

He will make me understand why cliches are cliches, and what all of those love songs were trying to say. The words of love penned by poets and authors will take on a new meaning, and every sense of mine will tingle with a renewed awareness. He will listen to me, he will hear me, and he’ll know when there’s nothing to be heard. There are so many things we can look for in our significant other. And maybe we spend too long waiting for a partner who ticks all the boxes. But I’m lucky, perhaps, in that I have a heart that let’s me know exactly what it wants. And so I trust that it will invariably shout and kick and scream with delight when it finds the man of my dreams. And maybe he won’t be at all as I imagined. Whoever he is, here’s hoping I have the courage to go and get him…