A poem by Anna Blainey, inspired by Rudyard Kipling

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If you can keep your head whilst simultaneously getting off your face,
If you can discuss politics until dawn without slurring or getting bleary-eyed
Whilst at the same time being ‘sassy’, ‘smokin’ and ‘such a laugh’.
If you can go home on a Friday night and cry your week into your pillow
(quietly so you don’t wake your flatmates.)

If you can survive your parents on three hours’ sleep and four hours on a hot, smelly train
If you can be kind to your granny without dreaming of her life savings pouring into your lap
Then sleep in your childhood bedroom, where the noughties boybands stare judgmentally from the wall
And pretend to yourself (and everyone else) that you don’t wish you were sixteen again
(independence, money, freedom yay!)

If you’ve studied six years at two universities and you’re twenty grand in debt,
If you’ve waited ten years for the recession to go into remission,
Spent your evenings on Rightmove dreaming of owning a small, damp studio flat above a shop
And, giving up on any meaningful work, taken the time to find yourself
(but found there’s nothing to discover.)

If you commute an hour on foot (coffee > train fares) for your daily dose of the minimum wage,
If you smile and say sorry when customers yell at you on the phone,
Are programmed to say “you’re right” and “I understand” and “of course it’s my mistake”,
Then agree to take another shift, another three if they’ve got it (you’ve used the heating this month.)

If you can either follow your dreams or pay the bills,
If you’ve lost your twenties to vague dreams and strong booze,
If you’re eighteen at heart, but going grey on your head
And could really just do with a decade in bed, then you can say –
“I’m an adult now, Mum”.



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