21

Age is always something I’ve had a weird relationship with. When I was about 18 I had a terrifying moment when I realised that time is linear. Apparently there’s something about the brain maturing that means we’re unable to fully comprehend time until we’re about 18. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to realise that life happens in a straight line. You only get to live today once. Then it’s gone.
Then in the morning there’s another day which vanishes out behind you like those white lines on the highway.
This is part of the reason I document my existence so obsessively. I think every day is worth remembering, even the boring ones. Only retrospect can tell us which days are important. It is impossible to know that the person you just met will go on to mean all sorts of things that, in that moment, you can’t even imagine. If you’re not careful you will have forgotten significant things before you even get time to appreciate them.
I remember turning 16 and feeling like, somehow, that should mean something. That I should feel different for being a year older. That isn’t how it works of course. Because you aren’t a YEAR older, you’re a day older. And a day isn’t really a very long time. It’s statistically unlikely that the anniversary of your birth will be an important day every year. Lots of the time they’re just days like any other.
This weekend was my 21st birthday. There was tea and cake and friends and family. It was strangely like a highlights package, having our backyard full of all these people from my life. If you can judge your life based on the people in it, then I think I’ve done alright.
I think finally, after almost 21 years, I’ve grown into my age. I feel like I’ve outrun childhood. And adulthood is something I can stumble into later.
For now I can recklessly take time out of life to go on adventures. I can traverse half the east coast of Australia without a schedule or a plan. I can book accommodation mere hours before I plan to sleep in it. I can spend hours in toy sales playing with Sing-a-ma-jigs. I can invite people I’ve met on the internet to my house and hug them like I’ve known them forever. I can live my life like I’m a person in a song.
When you’re young you spend a lot of time having what is, allegedly, “the time of your life”. There have been a lot of times when I’ve found this idea really scary. There’s the concept that you need to HAVE the time of your life during the best years of your life. It’s strange to put that sort of pressure on living. Happiness shouldn’t have to be precarious.
I don’t see why ‘the time of your life’ can’t be all of it?

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year