When I was in my teens, I loved to surround myself with small quotes and saying that I had picked up from books that I had read. My best friend and I scribbled them everywhere! On our desks, on paper coffee cups (not that we drank coffee back then, but buying hot chocolate and walking around sipping it made us feel very grown up), on our note books and everywhere else like the back of our hands and so on.
I still love to collect quotes and sayings, I just don’t flash it around as much. I remember being in love with foreign and mystical languages that few if any but me and my friends could understand, such as Latin and Elven (from Tolkien’s fandom). I would scribble “Carpe Diem”, “Memento Mori” and “Fugit Hora” everywhere, and while “seize the day” and “remember death” still doesn’t mean that much to me, “time flies” has suddenly struck me as true.
I never used to think about time, not really. When you are young, time goes by so painfully slow, and you can’t wait to be grown up and participate in “real life”. I turned 25 a few months ago, and I just realised that “real life” was just as much then as it is now. As a child or a teenager, I could submerge myself completely in the wonderful world that is fantasy, I could scribble and draw all over my arms, on my shoes, on my backpack, I could be as nerdy and geeky as I wanted, and I didn’t have to pretend to be a grown up when I met new people. (Because lets be honest, I’m still just pretending and I’m amazed that I can fool anyone)
Suddenly you are 25 years old, and your former classmates are having kids, more than one, buying a house, getting engaged, and you’re left feeling slightly dazed. The fact that my family keep on hinting that it’s about time I meet a nice guy and have some kids doesn’t help at all! My sisters are dying to become aunts, and since I’m the oldest it’s apparently my duty to make that happen, and I’m apparently long overdue already.
One of my closest friends in High School just announced on facebook that she is pregnant again, and the announcement left me shellshocked! Slow down people! Life has just begun, I’m still working on my bachelor’s degree, I’m in no way ready to have kids yet, aren’t you supposed to experience life a little first? I want to live in a nice apartment, I want to have a decent income and travel, I want to do all those things that you need money to do, and I want to do them while I’m still young. When you have kids, though I’m sure they are a blessing, then you’re stuck for at least 18 years before you get to be selfish again. I want to spend my money on me.
I just spent the entire easter break re-reading the Inheritance cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance) by Christopher Paolini. At some point Eragon, who is 15 when we are first introduced to him in the first book, looks at his cousin who is a few years older and he is shocked to realise that they are adults now. He can see the beginning of lines around Roran’s eyes, and his cousin is now married and has a baby. He says something along the lines of “just like that, the cycle continues and a new generation takes up the mantle”. I don’t remember the wording exactly, but it made me realise that damn, I’m that generation. It’s not like I have wrinkles yet or anything, but I have faint lines on my forehead (from the weird face I make whenever I put on mascara) and my face isn’t that of a teenager any more. My generation is settling down and having children, we’re the adults now, and our parents are the grandparent-generation.
Isn’t that a scary thought? We’re totally going to fuck this up, since when did we become responsible? Doomed. This is doomed to fail at some point. I don’t know why, but I never imagined myself as an adult. I kinda thought I’d skip that part and go from a free spirited teenager/young adult to becoming an ever more free spirited old lady like the one in the poem. That’s going to be me. It’s a bit comforting that though I might screw up the whole “being an adult” part of life, I know I’ll excel at being an old woman.
When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple. (Warning)
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!