‘I’m an adult and I still can’t sew, cook fish or buy pillows.’

Allison Tait.



It occurred to me today that I have reached my 40s (let’s not talk about how far down that road I am) without becoming a fully functioning adult. I mean, there are just things that I don’t know how to do yet.

For example:

1. Buy pillows.

I need a new pillow. Really badly. To the point where I wake up with a sore neck and an unhappy disposition. And yet I have not managed to buy myself a new pillow. I realised when I went to the shops that I had never bought a pillow for myself. All my pillows come from my long-suffering mother. She went through a phase where she was looking for a new pillow and I pretty much just inherited all the pillows that didn’t work for her. So I had pillows by default and that worked well.

Now, however, she is happy with her pillow. And I am in need of one. So I must get my own.


How do you work out which one is right for you when you can’t lie down on them for 12 hours to give them a test run? Am I a medium person? Firm? High? Duck feather? Latex? Oh. My. God. Talk about Option Paralysis.

A friend told me that Ikea has a pillow wall. Or bar. Or something. I forget. You can test the pillows. But on a wall, or a bar, or something. Not on a bed. This doesn’t seem to be a solution for me.

Advice please. How the hell does a person buy a pillow?

2. Sew. Anything. Buttons. Hems. Anything. I did sewing in year 8 at school. I should be able to do this. But I am also saddled with what is generally known as a Distinct Lack Of Interest and I have no idea how to overcome that.


Advice please. How does one foster an interest in mending?

3. Cook fish. Here’s a confession: we rarely eat fish in this household, let alone three times a week. Oh, we love quality tinned tuna (Sirena only), fish fingers, and takeaway fish and chips on occasion, but I am categorically useless at cooking fish. I am of the cook-the-crap-out-of-it school of fish chef, and my last attempt, at barbecuing some fillets, has gone done in the annals of Fam Fibro history as Mum’s Worst Meal EVER.

I’m never sure what to buy and then never sure what to do with it once I get it home. I even went to a course once at the Seafood School and yet, here I am. I suspect there is no hope for me, but even so, any advice?

I am sure that real adults do not suffer from these deficiencies. They do everything well, competently and with assurance. They have lovely pillows, no loose buttons floating around the house, and eat perfect fish three times a week.

Or not.

This article was originally posted on Allison’s blog here, and has been republished with full permission.

Allison is a freelance author, writer and blogger living large(ish) in a small(ish) town. She combines her day job (factual feature articles and non-fiction books) with her night job (fiction writing). Fortunately, she gave up on sleep years ago. You can find her blog here.

Are there things that you don’t know how to do yet? What would you add to the list?


More articles