Kim Knight: 'I am a millennial trapped in a Gen-X body'

By Kim Knight

I am a millennial trapped in a Gen-X body. Plenty of opinions; no credible trappings of adulthood to back them. Photo / Getty Images
I am a millennial trapped in a Gen-X body. Plenty of opinions; no credible trappings of adulthood to back them. Photo / Getty Images

The big question, I suppose, is will a rice cooker complete me? Will my life be better with six matching coffee cups and a bathroom painted Thorndon Cream or Quarter Sisal?

I have none of the above. Other things I am missing include a desire to join Facebook and a common sense approach to spiders. I routinely note the absence of hair straighteners, the perfect pair of black flats and a decent stereo. Also, in no particular order: a house, a husband, kids and a car.

No, I don't have a cat.

Sometimes I contemplate these deficiencies and think: "WTF is wrong with me?"

The average marrying age for a New Zealand woman is 28.8. She has 2.2 children. She almost certainly owns one of the 3.1 million cars or 42,450 tractors registered to travel on the country's roads. It is conceivable that, by age 46, she has saved the requisite deposit on a brick-and-tile in Onehunga and, even as I type, is debating the merits of Double Pearl Lusta versus Half Sea Fog for the spare room.

Not me. I am a millennial trapped in a Gen-X body. Plenty of opinions; no credible trappings of adulthood to back them.

How did I accumulate such over-abundance of lack? During my 30s when my friends were taking folic acid, I was taking tequila. I found husbands but they were, you know, husbands. I was forever losing things. Once I went to Australia for a weekend and when I came home, realised I had lost interest in a 14-year relationship.

In the 1980s, when I went to high school, girls could do anything. We exercised our right to flirt mercilessly and threaten harassment without knowing a single thing about the real world; blissfully unaware that sexism was not down for the count, and that in the offices, the kitchens, the bars and the sports fields, the fight to be taken as seriously as a man would continue until 2016-and-counting.

One thing had changed since our mothers were born: we didn't have to get married. And so I wouldn't. I said no (twice) and proceeded to fall in love with a pirate, a scientist and a f***wit who were never going to ask because - joke's on you, feminism! - they no longer had to.

Why do people get married anyway? Love. Security. Commitment. That sigh of relief because now you can stop looking and wear elasticised waistbands? When you're married, your future is settled. I'm not judging - but "settled" is quite a loaded word.

They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The dearth of a spouse, in fact, makes you thinner. You might think you're standing on your own two feet but to the coupled world you lack balance.

At dinner parties, the single will be consistently seated at the top of the table. This is a pass-the-gravy-salt-butter-chardonnay wasteland. You should carry wine in your handbag (those cheap, coupled bastards only brought one bottle between the two of them, anyway) and count yourself lucky. Getting thinner is a small price to pay for avoiding boobs with more stretchmarks than a strained tea bag and/or a perineal laceration.

During my 30s when my friends were taking folic acid, I was taking tequila. Photo / 123RF
During my 30s when my friends were taking folic acid, I was taking tequila. Photo / 123RF

Obviously, the most precious thing you can have around your neck are your children's arms, but you should also consider where their head has to come out of first. (Winnie the Pooh once rather beautifully claimed it was the smallest things that take up the most room in your heart. Let's not forget he was a fictional bear who rarely wore trousers).

Honestly? I don't have children of my own, because I never wanted children of my own.

Do you really want to read another thinkpiece on how everyone tells me I'll change my mind but I know I won't, and that I adore my niece, my nephew, and all my friends' children and their children and blah, blah, blah? Also, that time in 1979. My sister and I were doing the dishes.

"I love the taste of soap bubbles," she said.

"No you don't," I replied.

"Do so."

"Prove it," I said. "Have some more. Here's a spoon. Have some more."

I don't recall exactly how many spoonfuls of suds she ate but what I remember, vividly and starkly (after Mum came into the kitchen and screamed at me), was how shocked I was at my own awfulness. I remember, vividly and starkly, thinking that if I could do that to my little sister, could I do that to a child?

Anyway, now that we've ensured I will never again be asked to babysit the fruits of any of my friends' ruined loins, I'd like to reassure you that I have not entirely wasted my acquisitional adult years.

I don't have a house, a husband (I do have a boyfriend and I do really love him), kids or a car. But if you need three Crown Lynn circus-patterned pudding bowls, I am totally your girl. I also possess great knives and a finely honed sense of responsibility - over the years I have owned all sorts of shit that really was other people's shit to own.

Last week, I read that the average American home contains 300,000 items. The average American woman owns 30 different outfits (in 1930, she just had nine) and the average British 10-year-old owns 238 toys, but plays with only 12 daily.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, the 12 per cent of the world that lives in North America and Western Europe accounts for 60 per cent of private consumption spending; the one-third who live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa account for just 3.2 per cent. In total, the "consumer class" comprises 1.7 billion people. And two weeks ago, approximately half of those people were trying to find a carpark at the Auckland Home Show.

There is no better environ to fully appreciate a paucity of possessions than the company of Auckland home owners shopping for digital print shower linings. Slow down and smell the deck stain. This is the frameless glass balustrade of your dreams. Book a free consultation and you could win an Apple watch. I was lost at the Home Show. A man kept trying to sell me a pumpkin knife. Spa pools were blocking every exit. I had been walking for days. I thought I was hallucinating when former Silver Fern and television host April Ieremia came up to me and said: "Hi. Do you know about our seminars?"

My feet hurt. I took a seat, because I was scared that if I didn't, I would buy a Brazilian cowhide ($347.50) and lie down on it.

Janice Kumar-Ward was up the front, wearing a taupe trench coat and talking about interior design. Hiring an interior designer means you can get a good deal on hydro-taps, and you won't have to think twice about how the floor-to-ceiling blinds attach to the ceiling. Key trend: The line between work and home was becoming increasingly blurred. I knew exactly what Kumar-Ward meant.

The big question, I suppose, was would a house, a husband, kids and a car complete me? I paused to observe married couples in their natural, acquisitional environment.

"Did you see that $5000 toilet?!" said one man.

"You're rushing quite fast," said his wife.

- Canvas

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