Growing up means getting your hands dirty sometimes. In my case, that included the somewhat pitiful job of phoning a Nando’s, hungover, and begging it to accept Deliveroo orders at midday. (“Look, I know you’ve only been open since 11, but I need wings or I’ll die! Yes, I’ll hold for the manager.”)
Needs are a funny thing: what do we regard as essential, and how do these necessities compete against each other? In sixth form, they taught us about the psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These were presented as a pyramid: at the bottom were basic needs such as air, food and security; above that were psychological needs, such as love and self-esteem. And at the top, a rare, heightened state of self-fulfilment, where your potential is fully reached and your creative needs met. But of course, you wouldn’t get there unless your psychological needs were met, and you couldn’t meet those unless your basic needs were met. For instance: my psychological need to never speak to anyone on the phone (a behaviour apparently common to one-third of my generation) is resoundingly trumped by my need for a platter of poultry.
I think it’s time Maslow got a millennial upgrade. Yes, all living creatures need water and air, but some of us also need wifi. Security? Pfft, we’ve been managing without, what with the gig economy, housing crisis and every single celebrity fave outing themselves as problematic (is nothing safe?). And then there’s self-esteem in the Instagram age. Impossible, surely? File those needs in the unattainable top tier.
I’ve been told the key to adulthood is figuring out what it is I need to be happy and working towards it. The answers to that will have to wait, but at least I’ve learned where the journey begins: with the source of all life – a full phone battery.