Category Archives: Reminder

Dirty words and backwards glances

Do not talk to me about birthdays.  In my life they have become something of a taboo to me and I don’t enjoy celebrating them.  Not in that fake way people have of saying ‘I hate my birthday’ and then throwing themselves a massive party with on sight admirers/arse-kissers to tell them how amazing they look and they can’t believe their age.  I just plain don’t enjoy them and this one will be no exception.

You see, at some point, in the not too distant future, I shall be approaching a milestone in my life.  It probably won’t seem like much of a one to many of you.  Perhaps you’ve past it and can now look back on it with that wonderful tool of hindsight or maybe it doesn’t or didn’t bother you and you sailed through it with ne’er a backwards glance.  Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to do that.  In fact when I stop to think about it sometimes I find I lose part of the definition of myself.

For God’s sake, I’m not dying or losing a limb; I’m just turning 30!  But to me thirty is a dirty word.

Ten years ago I was turning 20 and could not be more chuffed about the whole situation.  The 20’s was the age when people take you more seriously as you’re no longer a teenager, the age you stopped getting asked for ID for booze and fags, the age when you got a proper job, had a proper relationship and basically started your ‘proper life’!  In 2002 I was ready to be 20 and looking forward to the ensuing chaos it would bring.  And boy did I bring it.

In the last ten years I have had four relationships, varying in length from eight months to five years, one of which turned into an engagement. [Obviously that did not end in the textbook fashion, moving on…]  I have also lived at ten different addresses, studied three different courses at two different universities and worked in 12 different places, nine of them being pubs or bars.  I have drunk an inordinate amount of alcohol and probably regurgitated several times my own body weight.  I have also gained a degree, a post-graduate diploma, an NVQ, numerous work related qualifications, a great many friends, several new members of my ‘chosen family’ and thankfully only a few enemies – that I am aware of.

All in all, I’ve been rather busy.

But now, this great and awe-inspiring decade is coming to an end and I am finding myself loathed to leave it behind for a number of reasons but the first of which being the most simple; age.

Thirty has always seemed like the first negative big milestone.  Before this everything you reach has a purpose, a landmark to show you how far you have come and how far you still have left to go, but with 30 it feels as though the safety net has been pulled out from under me.  No more child-like excuses or reasons of immaturity or not knowing.  When 30 years of age are attained, life must be signed, sealed and organised because suddenly you’re nothing but an adult.

The funny thing is if I really think about it, I still don’t get taken seriously by those older than me now, I got asked for ID for alcohol less than 4 months ago (the last time I went out drinking) and I am still unaware what it is I want to do with my life.  In this respect I can either be reassured that a few months will not change reality as I know it, or conclude that I have not travelled very far at all in my latest decade.  Trying to go with the former…

Thirty is described as a rite of passage, particularly for women and if you pick up any magazine now it will begin to tell you how 30 is the new 20, 40 is the new 18 and I’m sure sometime soon, about the  new 90 which means you can revert to your old habits of liquid foods and incoherent babble.  Actually, in some cases that is not too far from the truth.

A rite of passage is it?  Really??  That’s what 30 is supposed to be.  Perhaps once upon a time when you were married before 20, kids before 21 and tied to the kitchen sink between every child dropped!  But now in the constantly evolving and revolving society we have, to be old is to be beyond your use, have lived past the sell-by date and to be taking up space that others could exploit more fully.  No longer in the pigeonhole of ‘youth’ but not high enough up to be middle-aged, geriatric, retired or solvent, to be 30 is to be relegated to the back of the shelf and left there to fester because it is no longer necessary for society to care what it is you’re doing; you’re on your own.

I am daunted by the prospect of looking back at my life and seeing what I haven’t yet done and why it has not come to fruition only to be greeted with a plethora of my own mistakes and self-imposed misfortunes.  I am also unwilling to share these thoughts with anyone ‘real’ because they would surely try and persuade me otherwise and there is only one thing worse than having to face up to all the dumb-ass things you’ve done that have led you to this very point you’re not all that keen on standing on.  And that’s having an audience while you do it.

So instead, you get my neuroses and my near-hysterical ramblings as I fret about the looming date which is in point of fact, a date.  A day like any other, one that I will to all intents and purposes try to ignore as I do most years and will pass with no more pomp and fanfare than those surrounding it.  In my mind thought it may be a millstone rather than a mile, it will not be a culmination of my failures and foibles; a buffet spread from my silly mistakes and bad choices made at an age when I was too adolescent to spot them and too shallow to care.  It will be just a day, shared with others and liable to pass whether I wish to celebrate its coming or hide from its looming presence.  And yet, even knowing all of this, I cannot shake the feeling that it is a turning point and should be treated as such.

I have lived my life up until this point with a carefree abandon that has amounted to very little to show but a great deal to remember.  I have memories I will treasure forever and those that I wish I could tear out of my mind but instead will look and learn from, knowing I couldn’t be who I am now without them.  I may be young in some eyes but I am old in others and right now I am in-between decades; not quite finished with one, just not ready to step onto the next.  But perhaps that is the point.  Without the use of these landmarks, where would be the perspective of knowledge and the hindsight to see how well you really did?

Perhaps I have been looking at 30 all wrong and actually it is not a milestone to pass, but one to look back on and see in the distance; a signpost to the way forward of the person I am still to become.

And yet even knowing all of this to be a distinct possibility I cannot shake the feeling that life is creeping up behind me, ready to jump out with wrinkles, cardigans and bitter envy of the youth as well as contemptible intolerance of their unappreciative nature of what they possess.  I think I would do ‘old’ well provided I could do it my own way and in my own specific style.  But not now.  Because 30 is not old; it’s not even half way there!

Now all I need is to understand that is the case and let time flow on by; once a second, every second as it has been doing for millennia, and will continue to do so long after I have been forgotten.  And perhaps just a gentle reminder once in a while that, milestones are important yes, but also personal.  What one person celebrates, another may dismiss as wholly unimportant.  So if I choose to throw a mental tantrum about something I can no more affect than the movement of the Earth, then I only have myself to blame.

All I can affect are my own actions and emotions and maybe, just maybe, if I can get those under control, I can sail through this transition smoothly with the wind at my back.  Because it’s going to happen, whether I’m ready or not.

So, enough moping and maudling, it’s time to start looking forwards and brushing away the needless mind blocks I have subconsciously been erecting.  Time to start planning for a new decade’s memories with optimism, even if I may need subtle reminders of it now and again…

Besides, if this next decade is anything like the last one, now may be the time to start putting up the buffers.  Because they’re sure as hell going to know about it once I’ve arrived.


Security Servicing

Secrets are as essential to life as breathing, love, sex, cider and caffeine the morning after the night before – not necessarily in that order – don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise. However, I am talking about the kind that you keep to yourself because it’s your business, or the sort that saves someone the horrendous feelings of inadequacy because they don’t need to know what someone else thought of their dress sense after the fact as examples. This kind keeps the world spinning on its slightly dysfunctional axis.

The ‘I-had-an-unhappy-childhood-right-up-until-I-set-fire-to-the-family-home-with-all-the-occupants-inside’ or ‘I’m-shagging-your-sister-behind-your-back’ kind definitely do not make the world go round. More, come to a grinding halt, spitting out nuts and bolts along the way.

So let’s stick to the first kind for the purposes of this blog.

I am sure we all have a stalwart companion to whom you could disclose your darkest secrets without even a flicker of fear that they could be breached. However the fact of knowing someone elses secrets is addictive and that is why we will all also someone who cannot keep a secret for love nor money but who always seems to get the best gossip. And this is because there is something liberating in revealing secrets.

It’s like stepping out of the carefully created public mask and revealing just a flash of the hidden person underneath that only a few people are privileged to see. Basically I think I’m accidentally comparing it to streaking. Yeah, streaking.

So on that note I fancied a quick flash in the pan myself (if you will) and here are a few things I don’t think many people know at all.

  • Soft touch

I may well be the world’s most cantankerous waker-uperer and possibly the least sympathetic person I know to common or garden problems brought on by self-inflicted stupidity in my expert opinion [see previous post for exceptions] but I have a small hidden part of me that I keep deeply buried and has had little reason to surface recently that adores romance.

Oh yes, out loud I may scoff and rely on practicalities over emotion, find the gift of flowers inconvenient because I kill the damn things within days and scare off grown men when they don’t behave while drunk. But underneath I harbour a guilty passion for surprises, gestures and being swept off my feet.

The majority of the time I would probably find it incredibly annoying and untimely but once in a while, I would like to be swept away in something other than a wave of crashing banal reality.

  • Girly Girl

Jeans and a hoodie are my staple weekend wear and they are the clothes I am the most comfortable in which is important when the weekends are mostly spent at one rugby club or another, either working or watching.  This also suits the fact I was graced with rugby playing legs and horse rider’s arse.  I am somewhat of a self-confessed low maintenance gal but on occasion I like to get dressed up to the nines, fling on some bling and sparkle in the room rather than fading into the background as all good staff can.  I actually like one or two dresses!

  • Wine not

I am not averse to quaffing wine with dinner, I have a glass with the girls on nights in or out and when visiting friends for a housewarming or dinner party I always come armed with a bottle.  Its only polite isn’t it?

Except for the fact that I don’t like wine!

I’ve been told I will grow into it, it’s something that needs to be cultivated, different palates prefer different tastes; I just need to find mine and a whole host of other ridiculous things that all amount to the same idea.  I’m being given different excuses to put something in my mouth I don’t like and actually, I already know isn’t that good for me!

In this respect, I think I should apply the same logic to wine drinking as I do to oral sex.   If I don’t like it, don’t expect me to do anything with it except politely decline.  [Added onto that could of course be if you insist then you have to be ready to accept the fact I may well spit it back in your face but perhaps that’s taking the imagery too far…]

If I’m going to go down with liver disease and chronic cirrhosis then it’s going to be with a drink I actually like. Bring on the cider!

  • Solidity

I have been told by several people in the last couple of years, I come across as hard.  I think this is almost something I deliberately project at times so no-one can see if I’m feeling weak or vulnerable but possibly I have done this a little too well!  I like my cover of hardness; it’s soothing to me to know that people think they can’t get in if I don’t want them to, even if I know that may not be strictly true.

Strictly true?  That’s pushing the point a bit!  I over think, over analyse and over complicate things in my head before they’ve even got as far as far as the vocal chords but fortunately, a few years of practise has taught me the ‘think-it-don’t-say-it’ school of working and I have mostly perfected the ability to not look like I’m chewing a wasp when someone tells me something I don’t want to hear or when I feel something other than ‘fine’.  I think I need to reign in my reigning in on this particular subject but it’s hard to break a habit; especially one you’ve adopted deliberately.

There!  I almost feel a catharsis coming over me now I have laid bare my inner most feeling and desires…  Ok perhaps not but that’s about as much secrecy as I think I’m going to disclose right now and who know?  What I think of me may not be the opinion everyone else shares but I’d like to think I know myself well enough to be right.  If I were an onion and they were simply parts of the brown outer layers, it’d still be a step closer to the core.

I guess what I’ve been thinking is that people need secrets.  They keep the world spinning and the pages turning, without them the relationships we make would take no discovery and the paths we tread would be paved with monotony.

But it’s always worth remembering that just as you guard your secrets, everyone else has their own, and that perhaps sometimes all you see is not all there is to be seen.  Just because someone allows you to peek between their pages doesn’t give you the right to flick to the end.  You take all the fun out of the journey and ultimately ruin a good story.

A word of warning to those hell-bent on uncovering the truth no matter why it was hidden, be it physical, practical, emotion or literal.  Secrets are exciting to discover, but once they’re out there, there’s no putting them back.  When you get through all the layers of the onion, ultimately all you have is a handful of onion layers and eyes full of tears.


Brickdust

So.

I’ve had a very busy day and I’m exceptionally tired now, but I feel that certain glow of achievement you can only get after a sense of accomplishment brought on by a success, whether physical or moral has been attained.  Today may seem like an ordinary day to many people but to me it marks a number of firsts to be noted:

  1. Today is the first time I have been out of the house for more than two hours and away from my home comforts, safety nets and out of reach of my bed for six weeks!  It is unbelievable how much more tiring you find life when suddenly there is no option just to ‘stop and have a lie down’ any time you want.  It’s like being on edge all the time but in fact it’s just what everyone else does. All day every day.
  2. Today was the first time back in the car for a long journey since the slight nightmare that was the home trip from the hospital on the 21st December.  [N.B.The fact my dad ‘helped’ by pulling the seat back I was just about to lean on and we ended up a little bit lost in the middle of New Cross  and it took over two hours to get there made it a nightmare.  The fact I was a touch fuzzy on morphine throughout made it only a slight one…]
  3. It was also the first time I then made the same journey back again at the end of the day.
  4. My first interaction for longer than 2 hours with someone outside of the family.  I would not be surprised to discover how many calories you burn just sitting talking as it takes one hell of a lot of energy to talk, listen, keep up with and keep going on a conversation.
  5. My last day on the mega strength pain pills.

In short, today I went back to my usual home, visited the boy and spent some time in the house.  it was only for about 3 hours but as it took an hour and a half to get there and a little under three hours to get back, it made for an exceptionally long day.  But a good one I feel.

I hadn’t told anyone I was returning, mostly because I didn’t want anyone to suggest visiting or anything else remotely similar, today or at any future point as I think it would have been too much for me at the time.  Also I just wanted to be able to focus on one thing at a time and deal with one little situation on my own, break it down and work through it piece by bite-size piece.  And I did!  And I feel proud of myself.  And at the same time I am also sitting here laughing at myself for being proud of doing something other people do all the time!

My mum often says “you’re not ‘other people’. You’re you and you’re individual”, and I think in this case she may have a point.  Because while I sit here and smile indulgently, quietly mock myself at my enthusiasm over my meagre achievements I would have carried out without a moments thought not less than three months ago, part of me also hides the beam of pride at myself for overcoming this miniature wall of adversity and silently pats me, very gently, on the back.

Like a child learning their steps in the way of the world I am, at some stage going to have to accept that for now, I am child like in my progression and the smallest hurdle should be greeted with courage and determination but equally should be rewarded with praise and encouragement to enable me to face the next.

This whole illness, operation and recovery is perhaps one of my biggest hurdles so far and certainly one of my steepest learning curves and yet somehow I cannot seem to see how far I have to go but also just how far I have come.  In fact at times I have trouble seeing past my own inability to circumnavigate the walls this presents me with and see only my own lacking ability; my own failure.  For what are walls obstructing the path but obstacles to be met one brick at a time, one layer after another until it is small enough to step over without a backwards glance and instead I look only at the wall I have yet to face.  I should remember to look at what is left behind when I need a reminder.

And right about the time I can take that backwards glance and see the rubble left behind me I think is about the time I will finally admit to myself how far and how much I have really had to overcome.  About the time I am on the other side of that wall and probably as it’s receding in my mind, perhaps doubting it was ever really that big in the first place.

Until then, I’ll just chuckle at my efforts to take on the bricks.


Last of the short-speakings

This is the last cheating short one, I promise.  I have a big day tomorrow with hours in the car a journey to undertake, fears to overcome and hopefully a happy ending.  I’ve also been taking picture so I have much to catch up on but for now I am full of my pills, a little stressed and going to sleep.

Tomorrow I will be exhausted but tomorrow I will be free.

 

Until Tomorrow…


Lie back on the couch and tell me about yourself

It did help.  It always helps and I don’t know why I doubt it every time.  Writing does soothe the soul and smooth the brainwaves in my case and every time I write more I feel a little freer.  But then I get out of the habit, I put up obstacles and somehow it gets put to the back of the queue.

Reminder to self; stop doing this!

 

Let’s see how I get on from here.