As children, we’re all asked what we want to be when we grow up. Maybe we said a princess, an astronaut, or in my case, an actress. In our minds, these things were all achievable; adulthood was a land of unknowns where you could do anything and be anyone, but as time passes, the reality of growing up hits us like a tonne of bricks. Life is no longer about making mud pies and playing make believe, but instead becomes an existence of responsibilities, deadlines and anxieties. We’re told to grow up and act like the mature adults that we are; to deal with what life throws at us in a mundane world of black and white. Well, to everyone that has ever told me these things… I refuse to live my life in greyscale, and I think you should too. Although some people like to think otherwise, we’re all still children, some of us just accept it more than others. Just look at the way people act in times of conflict, or when they’ve been hurt. Adults are much more controlled when it comes to demonstrating their emotions, but we all have an innate tendency to regress into our childlike selves. We’re much the same as children when we sulk, defend ourselves in anger or direct blame and name-calling at others. Next time you’re watching a political debate on TV, compare the politicians to kindergartners and you’ll see what I mean. So my question is, why do we allow ourselves to be childlike in some ways, but not others? You only have ONE life. Do you really want to spend it ticking things of to-do lists and climbing the corporate ladder? Hey, maybe you do, and that’s fine, but don’t think it’s below you to act like a child sometimes. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Children are constantly learning and discovering new things, which is why our perception of time is much slower when we’re younger. The more frequently you put yourself in new situations, the slower your days will become, meaning your life won’t whoosh by in the blink of an eye. Being a certain age doesn’t mean you’re restricted in what you can do… well… I’m not allowed in children’s ball pits, but when I open my own, giant one, I’ll let you know. What I’m trying to say is that life is supposed to be FUN. Make messes, make mistakes, abandon your schedule for a day, build a blanket fort, eat dessert before dinner, draw on the walls! Okay, maybe don’t do that… but you get my point. Let go and live. Live like you can fly to the moon and put on a shoe to find your prince charming. Don’t let the monotonousness of life get you down – do something crazy, be in the moment and LIVE!
I’ve always loved the night. There’s something about the sunless calm that brings me to life and fills my soul with creative energy; energy that I expel in the form of writing, art and music. It’s ‘my time’. Everyone is sleeping and the house is quiet, just for me. Being an introvert, having this time to myself is something I consider essential for me to function like a normal human being, but sometimes I wish I could share my time with others, and be in their presence when I feel most like myself. My mind comes alive after midnight, and I have all these thoughts and ideas itching to escape, but no one to share them with. Don’t get me wrong, if people suddenly became nocturnal, I’d feel immediately claustrophobic, robbed of my time and energy. I just wish that every now and then, I had someone to stay up with and talk to until the sun peeks over the horizon and the sky turns dusky. Tonight is one of those nights. As the world is enveloped in darkness and minds drift into unconsciousness, my veins thrum with electricity and my thoughts demand to be heard. I feel alive.
Today I held a dove as it died in my arms. It was the first time I’ve ever witnessed the moment when life suddenly isn’t there anymore, and it horrified me. For fifteen minutes, I cradled the stunned dove that had been attacked by magpies, its wide eyes staring at nothing, its little body trembling in my hands. After trying to fly, he fell to the floor and died seconds later. It was a seizure, from shock my mother told me. It wasn’t peaceful like everyone claims death to be. It was violent and awful; the sight of a little heart giving its final few beats, a feathered body convulsing with the end of life. I was devastated. He was supposed to fly into the sunset a few hours later, but instead was lying limp on my living room floor. I’ve always hated death; the knowledge that eventually, everything must die. When I was a child, I remember saving insects from spiders webs, untangling them from their silk prisons and setting them free. To my dismay, I was informed that in doing so, I was potentially endangering the life of the spider instead. This is when I realised that life is cruel. But still, I tried my hardest to make sure every creature had a chance. I’d save the insects, rush to the windowsill, gather the dead flies that lay there and rush back to spider, carefully placing them in the delicate web. All the spiders in my house probably hated me. If I was served month-old roadkill instead of a steak, I’d probably hate me too. As the years passed, I learned to accept that I can’t save everything, but today – holding the dove that I’d bonded with for a few short moments – and watching it move on from this world… well, I guess it was just a harsh reminder that life can be swept out from underneath us at any moment. How depressing.
“One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”
There is no quote that terrifies me more than this one. What’s worse than waking up one day and realising that your entire life has passed you by, seemingly in the blink of an eye? Quickly and quietly, perception catches you off guard and pulls the rug out from underneath you, leaving you scrambling to make something of yourself. To find purpose and fulfillment in this otherwise stale existence. Growing old is inevitable, and it’s one of, if not my biggest fear. I don’t want to age, not because I’m afraid of wrinkles and grey hair, but because these changes remind me that I have an expiry date. Perhaps, because I’m still young and have barely scratched the surface of what will become my life, I don’t understand the natural progression and ultimately, surrendering one must feel when they’ve reached the end of their tether. I’ve seen it in the eyes of the elderly who used to reside in the nursing home my sister once worked at. A look of acceptance, of exhaustion, and of peace. A life filled with joy, love, pain and grief, of moments that make us feel like we’re flying, and others when we struggle to catch our breaths. After decades of experiences, of milestones, hardships and accomplishments, there must come a time when someone decides they’ve had enough. For some, this moment comes much earlier in the timeline of their existence, either through the hands of the universe, or their very own. Others try to fight time and cling onto the appearance of someone they once were, continuously altering their bodies in the pursuit of eternal youth. We’re all walking the same path, and inevitably, we will all reach the end. We won’t all stumble across the same rocks or divots in the earth, and where some of us see as a path lined with flowers, others see only weeds. The lives we live are fleeting, and whilst we should accept the fact that we live within the constraints of time, we shouldn’t let that define the choices we make or the emotions we let consume us. Sometimes I feel like little more than a fearful child shoved into the body of someone who’s supposed to have everything figured out, but I don’t think anyone actually does. Contemplate the future and accept the past, but live in the present and take comfort in knowing that no one really knows what to do with this gift we call life.
I’m waiting, watching a beautiful grandfather clock that is my life, each second representing a moment, an experience. I’m wondering which second is the moment I’ll find him, and I’m hoping I don’t run out of minutes.
For anyone who feels like they’ll never find ‘the one’, I assure you they’re out there, waiting for you too. So many people worry about the possibility of ending up alone that they often jeopordise what would have otherwise been a fulfilling, healthy relationship. Finding ‘the one’ isn’t about ticking things off idealistic checklists, but rather embracing a connection with someone who is as flawed and imperfect as you are. But before you can love someone else entirely, you must learn to love yourself first. Anyone who is unhappy within themselves will never find what they’re looking for by continuously checking the time. You will find them. It may not be when the clock strikes midnight, but one day your worlds will collide and then suddenly time won’t seem quite so important.
Imagine this. You’re about to go for a shower. The water is running; you’re eager to feel its warmth cascade from the shower head and caress your bare skin. When you step inside, your breath lodges in your throat. The water is freezing cold, liquid icicles trickling down your body and holding you in place. Each breath becomes more frantic than the last as you struggle to maintain control. You’re frozen, helpless to the icy droplets piercing your skin, like daggers. All it takes is one simple motion, one step. Amidst your panic, you somehow manage to grip the tap and turn it off, leaving you gasping for air. You stand there, naked and vulnerable, tears mixing with droplets as they fall down the drain. Every thought you had before you stepped foot into the shower is gone. All you can think about is the lingering feeling of fear and the suffocating layer of water clinging to your skin.
I’m an anxious person, and have been since birth. My parents like to remind me of the crippling fear I once had as a toddler, when I was deathly afraid of my green turtle potty. Apparently, I’d look down in horror at what I had produced and would run away in hysterics. My anxiety lessened when I progressed to the ‘big toilet’, which had been fitted with a toilet training seat just for me. One afternoon, my mother asked my father if he could watch me for ten minutes whilst she showered; a task that he’d been given multiple times before. On this particular occasion however, something went awry and my parents were alerted to my blood curdling screams coming from our second bathroom. To their dismay, they found me red-faced and hysterical with a toilet seat stuck firmly around my neck. No amount of pulling, lifting or greasing would remove it, which left them wondering how on earth I’d gotten it over my head to begin with. With only one thing left that they could think to do, I was buckled into my car seat as we drove down the road where a bewildered family friend promptly removed the plastic seat with a tool resembling garden shears. My memory of this is vague, although I’m pleased to report that I have not been permanently scarred by this incident. Apart from some minor anxiety surrounding public bathrooms and people hearing me pee, I’m handling things pretty well these days. :3
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that anxiety ebbs and flows. The things that make us anxious today are unlikely to make us feel the same way a year from now. Anxiety isn’t something that will ever disappear completely. We learn to manage it and push through the irrational thoughts and negative voices in our heads, because that is the only thing we can do. We will not be ruled by anxiety, and although there will be bad days, we won’t let them stop us from achieving greatness… even if that means peeing loudly for the world to hear!
And so are you.
We live in a world that is so focused on ticking things of idealistic checklists that we often forget life isn’t just about living up to society’s idea of perfection. We’re all following the same path. A path that was mapped out hundreds of years ago and has been walked a billion times. It’s impossible for us to know anything different, because we are taught to tread in the footprints of those before us. Our existence on this planet is fleeting, yet so many of us are terrified to deviate from the path that we were raised to follow. We as a species are transient. You are as ephemeral as autumn leaf before it falls. Use your time on this earth wisely, because you never know when the wind will carry you away.
I’m not a pessimist, I promise. 🙂 Well… maybe a tiny bit. For the most part, I’m just as lost and confused as everyone else on this earth. I write about all kinds of things, whatever tickles my fancy at any particular moment really. My mind is filled with so many thoughts that I figured starting a blog would be a good way to get some of them out, and maybe inspire someone in the process. If you like my rambles, welcome! I’m a socially awkward artist and lover of words who received more than her fair share of crazy at conception. It’s cool though… being a tiddly bit odd has become my trademark.