A couple of weeks ago I had afternoon drinks with a friend. She had a glass of Sauv-Blanc, and I had the Shiraz. Like grownups we caught up on life like we had been out of school for years. Like kids on a budget, we didn't order food and we took tiny sips from our seven dollar drinks to last the two hour rendezvous. I listened to her speak about her worries for the future; falling behind, her dissatisfaction with university, her life choices, her relationship and the lack of excitement and passion in her life. I was watching an 18 year old go through a mid-life crisis and I was disheartened. Mostly because of her plight, and also because I was more than halfway through my wine –the best remedy for ‘heavy shit’ –and we still had another hour. It is conversations like these, where I would like nothing more than to have my internal monologue unfold like a fantasy sequence from Ally McBeal, entailing a well-deserved slap and insisting she would just breathe and pipe down.
After a while she asked in a tone that was a little condescending; ‘so what have you been doing with all your free time?’ I fumbled. This was because I had nothing particularly exciting or tragic to share.
The first few months of this ‘gap-year,’ were incredibly unproductive. Whilst my former high school buddies were completing assignments for their respective university courses. I was lazing away, watching TV shows back to back, reading a lot, waking up to what I would call brunch, and taking aimless walks around my suburb. Whenever I answered with ‘nothing really,’ I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be ashamed and feel sorry for myself. On the other hand whenever I answered ‘nothing really,’ I'd develop this sickening satisfaction at seeing their reaction. I sensed their worry for my pathetic lifestyle; no obligation, can’t drive, unemployed, uninvolved. I find pleasure knowing that they think I’m a depressed hermit with no long term goals.
I take pride in not conforming to society’s emphasis on growing up and becoming an adult. I hate that collective conscience the month or two after graduating high school, life suddenly transforms into game show format; cut throat, the be all and end all, ‘Is it door one, or door two?!??!’ Stop. My brain has much to develop. I have yet to register your talk of ‘career paths,’ and ‘direction’. Stop pressuring me to have it all figured out at 19. Come on, I just finished thirteen years of schooling give me a break! Yeesh.
During our conversation, I expressed my thoughts on extending my gap year for another year just to see her reaction, I know…I’m an absolute fiend. She said, like a worried mother, ‘I don’t want you to waste another year,’
If there’s an article that best describes my current sentiments it’s this one from Rookie. Lately I've enjoyed feeling lost, rediscovering old loves, discovering new passions and just taking in whatever life hands to me. I have learned more about life through literature these past few months than in my entire life, from Allende to Augusten Burroughs' memoirs and his contemporaries. The films I watched taught me a lot of things from truth and fictional storytelling to passion and determination (namely Jiro Dreams of Sushi…freaking brilliant!). The daily walks I ventured on allowed me to appreciate the nuances in seasonal transition, those changes –sorry for the ‘E-harmony,’ description –are incredibly beautiful and breathtaking. Waste of time? Don’t think so. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m enjoying ‘smelling the roses’. I mean really smelling the roses. Not some wimpy half-arsed whiff. More like a long and greedy inhale and boy does it feel great!
|During my walks. I love temperamental Melbourne weather. No sarcasm intended.|
Since meeting up with this worrywart, I have slowly –in the traditional sense of the phrase that I hate so much –‘gotten my life together,’ I have found a job at the movies (romantic right? I love it), completed a two week course, started driving and joined an amateur production. I hope this doesn't contradict everything I've mentioned; I have yet to seek out such responsibilities subsequent of a wariness for the ticking life clock. No. Granted, the year has been quite slow in its momentum, but I’m picking up responsibilities as they come with open hands. I’ve decided that living in comparison to how fast everyone was moving, would cause unnecessary stress. It’s better to move at my own pace. Slow and steady but I feel like I'm winning. Screw it, pour me another glass!