Apparently every 7 years or so, we seek some major changes our lives. And I’m not just talking about our married lives/relationships, a la the famed Seven Year Itch. I’ll be turning 26 soon, and I certainly feel like I’m due for some major changes this year. Maybe last year was a preparation, a lesson in taking on more responsibility? (Though I certainly did my best to shirk this responsibility through a lot of temper tantrums). The last seven years were definitely shaped by a lot things I did when I was 19. I guess for many people, especially if they go through the school-uni thing, it’s an age where you come out of your shell, explore yourself and your world, make new friends and enjoy your maturing relationships with existing friends. I loved being 19.
At 19 I hitched-hiked with a friend from Melbourne to Sydney for the first time.
At 19 I was in my second year of uni, finally starting to overcome my shyness and make friends who actually shared my interests.
At 19 I was deep into political activism on issues that really burnt me. These issues still burn, but since then I’ve turned into an average Joe Bloe and politics deludes me a bit. Just a bit. Still, it was this activism that pushed me to open my mind, try new things, learn alternative theories about the way the world is organised, and encouraged me to understand the lives and perspectives of people who may be very different to me. And it gave me confidence…in making new friends, relationships and learning to stand by my principles rather than being kicked around.
At 19 I met L 🙂 Although it would be another 3 years until we got together.
At 19 I worked in my first non-chain store job where I wasn’t screamed at, ripped-off, and actually given responsibility.
At 19 I learnt to drive.
At 19 I was totally rocking wharehouse parties and squat parties.
OK, maybe not totally rocking. But I was certainly rocking the dance floor when the DJ played Like a Prayer and Billie Jean, while all the hippies boo-ed and demanded the trippy alternative stuff (whatever that was)!
Without these opportunities to explore my interests, meet new people and just have fun, the ensuing years would have been so different. I would have turned out so different. Turned 26 a different person…
I wouldn’t have had the confidence and esteem to travel by myself in South Asia the following year. To think the first time I went overseas on my own was to India for a year! If I had my time again, I would’ve tried to fit in a ‘practice run’ somewhere. Like, maybe in New Zealand 😉
Being young and having fun is all good. I still love travelling and I still love partying and these aren’t the changes I envision in the next 7 years. Indeed, I’m quite fortunate that my work involves a lot of travelling. But I think the changes will come in my relationships. Now that I have some distance from the insanity of last year, I realise how serious – S.E.R.I.O.U.S – life can get. How commitment in a relationship also involves a whole lotta responsibility. How selfish I can become when pushed to the limit.
Being in my relationship was all-consuming for most of last year. Just getting through each day seemed to take up all my physical, emotional and intellectual energy. I don’t think I’ve ever been through anything so intense, for such a prolonged period of time. We’re not completely out of the woods, but I’ve stuck my neck out long enough to reflect a bit. And that major shift I’m sensing…? Maybe turning 19 and the seven years since then have been about discovering myself, my potentials and my limitations. No doubt I’ll continue to do this. But I hope the next 7 years are not just me me me. I don’t just want to learn to be myself, I want to learn to be in a relationship, somehow radically decentre my self-centredness. I’m not ready to do something ‘out there’, like have kids, not quite yet (although I hope this will happen in the next 7 years!). But I’m certainly ready to start a family – and really be there – for the partner and family I already have.