So you think you want to be 22?
You might have missed it yesterday (if you spent the day with your eyes closed and consumed absolutely no mainstream or social media whatsoever) but Zayn Malik, a member of popular boy band One Direction has left the band.
And it’s not to go solo.
Or because he had a punch up with his band mates.
Or even because he’s going to rehab (as far as we know).
It’s because he wants to be a real boy. Or rather, to live life as a “normal 22-year-old”.
Now, it’s obviously a black armband day for fans – so perhaps this is #toosoon.
But once we’ve moved through the trauma, it’s worth having a look at what Zayn has to say about his departure.
In his statement, Zayn paid tribute to his band mates but said he was leaving because there was something very important he had to do. Something that felt right in his heart:
“My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined.”
“But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.
“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”
Zayn feels in his heart that he wants to be a “normal” and who relaxes and has privacy.
But here’s the thing that Zayn needs to understand: There is nothing relaxing about being a normal 22-year-old. And there is definitely shit-all privacy in a dirty share house.
You see, Zayn, being a normal 22-year-old isn’t really that great.
It’s not relaxing, and it’s not private. It’s definitely not something you’d abandon international stardom for.
It can actually be kind of shit.
Best case scenario, you’ve got a part time, low paying job and you’re living in a share house. You’ve probably got debts – whether it’s your university fees or a credit card bill for the months when your salary just didn’t cut it.
Your diet is probably an interchangeable menu of two minute noodles or pasta with a can of tomatoes or a can of tuna. You eat a lot of cereal (with milk, when available).
As for privacy, you’ve definitely heard your housemates doing the nasty while listening to some song you used to like and now despise. You have almost certainly had your housemates walk in on you in the shower or the toilet.
More than once, you’ve had to go to the bathroom at the nearest service station because it (a) has toilet paper; and (b) it smells nicer than than your own bathroom (for some reason your vegan housemate is convinced that only people who eat meat have smelly poo).