Archie

Isn’t it funny, the random things you remember? Today I was driving to celebrate a relative’s 80th birthday and something popped into my head that I had all but forgotten. I don’t know why I remembered it, but all of a sudden the memory was as clear in my head as if it had just happened yesterday.

When I was small, there was a partular day my mum and I happened to be in the front yard at the same time the postman came to deliver the mail on his bike. I was younger then, and much more personable. Inquisitive and not intimidated in the slightest, I happily started up a conversation with this postman. His name was Archie, and he soon became someone we would look forward to seeing. Every day my siblings and I would wait for the mail to arrive, and for a chance to get to have a conversation with the friendly fellow we came to consider a friend.

I remember writing him letters, and drawing him pictures. We loved Archie, who always had time for a conversarion with a bunch of chatty kids, and who never seemed to mind our questions and stories. To my tiny self, Archie – with his broad grin and friendly character – was larger than life.

One day, someone else showed up to deliver our mail. He didn’t stop to say hello, and he barely seemed to notice us at all. I was devastated, and even though I looked out for him for a while after, Archie never delivered our mail again. I don’t know whether he got a new job, or moved away, or simply got put in a different route. But for a few months there, he was a part of our little world. And today, as I was driving to catch up with extended family I’d not seen in many years, the memory of my childhood friend made me smile.

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Through the Eyes of a Child

Sometimes I miss being a child. Back when things were mostly easy; when the scary things could be fixed by simply hiding under the covers, and when my biggest worry was that the boy I had a crush on might think I was weird. I miss those easy days, when life didn’t seem to weight so heavily on me.

I’ve been going through a weird time lately. My head is all over the place; I’m questioning things I thought were solid, I’m doubting myself more than ever, I’m struggling with the fact that my life is going nowhere and the crushing inevitability of remaining stuck in a place I want desperately to be free of. I hate my job. I miss my brother. I can’t write. And the bitter cherry atop it all is a deep loneliness that I’ve only just come to recognise.

It’s hard, being in such a dark place with no sign of the light. In my mind I know that the light is there somewhere, and that eventually I will climb back to to it again. But right now, I feel like I’m being dragged deeper and deeper into the murky depths of my own unhappiness, and from where I stand, there appears nothing ahead of me but more of the same.

Life was simpler when I was a kid. It’s funny, I used to be so excited to be an adult. But now that I’m here, the world doesn’t seem as great as it looked through the eyes of a child.

Things I Half Remember

I went for a drive tonight. Just me, Edie, and my iPod. I turned down streets I’d never thought to turn down, got myself lost and confused and sufficiently uncomfortable, and then made my way back to familiar streets. I found myself home before I knew it, and now I’m on my new couch, thinking about all the random things that materialised in my brain as I drove tonight.

I remember when I was little, and mum sent me to bed early because I’d been naughty. I was terrified of the dark and I cried and cried until she sent my sister out to bed too, and finally I could calm down because someone was there to protect me. I used to hide under the covers and be reassured that my sister was bigger than me, and that she could save me from the monsters. We used to play games at night before bed, pretending we were married to the likes of Harry Potter, or the members of Hanson (shaddup, I grew up in the 90’s). We used to get told ‘read for half an hour and then lights out’, and I used to dread the darkness. It’s been a long time since I needed someone to protect me from the dark.

I remember going with mum to enrol my brother in grade prep and I was so excited. There was a wooden floored hall and at the end of the corridor was the room where the nice teacher taught. The year before I left, a teacher with curls told me that mistakes were good. It was the first time I recall an adult telling me it was ok not to always get it right.

I remember when my best friend had long hair, but I can’t picture it anymore. It was before he was my best friend, back when he was just the cool guy who worked at the video store. I remember hoping that we would be friends. Eight years later, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I remember that there was a time before him, but it’s hard to imagine clearly.

I remember dad’s hands being surprisingly more gentle with a hairbrush than mum’s. I remember putting flowers in letter boxes in my street. I remember my imaginary friend. I remember reading a story I had written aloud to my grade three class. I remember mulberry stains and the best branch on the tree. I remember cicada shells, and my great grandmother, and being picked up my in dad’s car, and the time I was funny in drama class, and hiding under the bed, and a brown blanket in a hotel room along the Great Ocean Road. I remember, and yet I don’t.

My memory is like looking at something through a glass of water; everything is a little skewed and distorted, but I know it is there. On Sunday, I turned twenty three. It is so strange to remember these things I only half remember. Because here I am, thinking I’ve done very little with my life to date. But it’s not about saving the world or curing cancer or even writing that award winning novel. It’s about all those little things. I’ve been so busy wondering how I’m going to go into my future, that I forgot that I have a lifetime of experiences, and memories. And the best part, is that my story is just starting.

How NOT to be an Adult

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In a couple of days, I will be celebrating my 22nd birthday. Despite all evidence proving this fact, I am constantly telling people that my real age is at least ten years younger than that (when I’m not insisting that I’m an old lady, that is.) In fact, one of my most commonly used tags on Instagram is #secretlystilltwelve. The thing is, half the time I don’t think I really qualify for adulthood. With the way I act and the priorities I have and the fact that I still laugh at ‘that’s what she said’ jokes, I pretty much feel like I should be a teenager. Personally, I think they should make you pass an adulthood test before they let you count as one.

You officially become a recognised adult when you turn eighteen. That milestone birthday entitles you to do all the things you couldn’t legally do prior to that day. You can drink, drive (hopefully not at the same time), get married, have all the sex…all that kind of stuff. My 18th birthday made absolutely no difference to my boring existence. At eighteen, I wasn’t a big drinker, I had no intention of driving, I was single, too young for marriage and I was about a year away from having my first sexual encounter. So becoming an adult wasn’t a huge change for me. These days, things are a little different but my feelings about adulthood remain essentially the same. Which is to say that I’ve thus far managed to almost entirely deny the fact that I’m a grown up.

The first step to successfully denying your adulthood is being a master in the art of procrastination. Responsible adults get things done, right? Kids, (and other non-adults like myself) on the other hand, know how to avoid doing what needs to be done. Whether it be not doing the dishes until the next day, not getting out of bed until the last possible moment before lateness becomes inevitable, or waiting nearly four years to get your licence (raises hand), there’s nothing like procrastination to prove to the world that adulthood might not be the right path for you.

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Now, on that topic of getting one’s licence, I held off getting mine for a few reasons. First, I live in town so walking was never an issue. Secondly, after you turn 21, you can get your licence without a log book AND you go straight to green P’s. I am inherently lazy, which is partly why I am so good at procrastinating. But, all laziness aside, I eventually did get my licence (after failing twice) and subsequently bought a car. Now, that seems like an adult thing to do, right? I saved my money and I bought a car all on my own. Here’s where I fail, however. After owning my car for less than a week, yesterday I locked my keys in it. I made sure I turned my lights off, unplugged my iPod and locked the door, and yet somehow managed to leave the keys in the ignition. Car, 1. Amy, 0. Not as bad as the time I accidentally threw my dad’s keys in the salvos bin (yeah, that happened), but still a definite sign that I suck at being an adult.

Now, I’m at a age where everyone is getting married and having kids. It seems every couple of weeks, girls I went to school with are posting photos of their engagement rings or budding baby bellies. Every time I see it I think, ‘but we’re so young!’. I feel like marriage and kids is something exclusive to the over 30’s. But really, it’s not that unusual at all to do those things at my age. I have two friends that I hung around with in high school that were married at eighteen. One of those friends is now getting a divorce and the other is having a baby due in December. And all I can think is, ‘I’m not mature enough for that shit.’ Despite the fact that I’m never having children and I don’t believe that I’ll ever get married regardless of my age, I feel like we’re all still too young to even be thinking of doing those things. But I guess everyone else my age is just more mature than me.

Which brings me to my next point. While everyone I know is moving out, shacking up with their long term partners, and starting their careers and their families, I’m still single and living at home. Plus, I’m working as a housekeeper, which is far removed from my dream of being an author or cute boutique shop owner. I pay board but other than that, I’m essentially responsibility free. Not that I’m irresponsible, but I don’t really have all the stresses that, in my mind at least, go hand in hand with being grown up. I would very much like to live out of home but the reality is that I just can’t afford it on my part time wage. Especially now that I have to worry about petrol and car maintenance! (not a sentence I’m used to saying). And while my friends are in their happy, sunny relationships, I’m over here in the darkest corner of the singles club, sipping whiskey and avoiding commitment. Adults can commit to long term relationships. I’ve never lasted in one for more than three months.

The truth is, I feel too young to be an adult. Either I’m emotionally stunted or adulthood is just not for me. I mean sure, I like the freedom to make my own choices and the lack of anyone trying to dictate my life. And there is that smug sense of satisfaction in knowing that I’m old enough to have avoided the epidemic of those horrible 25 year old 13 year olds – the kids who think listening to Bring Me The Horizon, smoking a pack a day and posting half nude selfies online makes them grown up. But some days I just want to get up at 12, eat chocolate for breakfast and watch movies all day instead of getting up and going to work. Basically, I’m just a big kid and while I may get older, I am happy to never grow up. Just call me Peta Pan.

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