Monday, March 10, 2014

Goodbye Twenty three.

In less than a month I'll be heading back from Machu Picchu, Peru with my cousin to spend my birthday here in Cocha. By then I would have been in Bolivia for just shy of a year. Time, you old thing.

Goodbye early twenties, hello mid twenties. If I were to map the changes in my life from the last year on paper there would be an astronomical difference between then and now. Moving to a different continent without knowing a soul, without a set return date, and a questionable amount of savings. Finally getting work experience in an area I've always felt instinctively and passionately about, that happens to have nothing to do with my five year undegraduate degree (whoops!). Remembering how to speak spanish (Hola. Me llamo grace. Me gusta la fiesta). Falling into a long distance relationship (yes, you read it correctly, me - grace - ice queen and emotional runt trying her hand at companionship). Biting the bullet that is my enormously proud pride and asking him to come back. And now fighting all the inner crazy I never knew I had to just be with another person. Oh Life, you crazy minx.

On a day to day basis however my life does not feel drastically different. I still take out the rubbish, clean the dishes, go to work, come home tired, watch movies and drink red wine with friends. The language and geography might be different but the essence is the same. Having a home where people ask me how my day was, swapping stories about how the foster kids my house mate visits are doing or how I had to entertain the kids for a whole hour so I made them do races where the slowest one wins and watched them concentrate harder than I'd ever seen kids concentrate. Trying to stifle my laughter as the kids moved in a slow motion crawl across the concrete floor. Stories and moments like this that make up what I love about life anywhere.

And my cousin is here, my best friend. Having her here, sitting and talking for hours while we eat and watch things (because that is what we do), is like sinking into an old chair with a butt curve fitted expressly to you. No explanations needed, just the easy jumping between then and now, updates on parents and siblings and how far we've come. Realisations that are sparked by our own personal histories and the glaringly different presents we own now.

Goodbye twenty three is a tip of the hat to our past selves that we smirk at smugly, knowingly. Happy to see them, happy to no longer be there. When you're at the beginning of discovering any world you want to try everything, anything. That's who we used to be. Now we are more discerning, we're learning to say no. There is less fear of missing out, because we've been held ransom by that impossible desire to experience everything for too long. You can sift through the things and people that are good for you, versus the ones that take your energy away or are there only to pass the time. Goodbye twenty three is a chau chau to one of the most potentially destructive words ever - should. Goodbye to all the things we thought should be something that they simply are not. There is no real way you should feel, there is no proper job you should have, there is no set person you should be with, there is no acceptable way you should react, there is no one way you should live your life, there is no official way you should be.

There is only the knowledge that with every year, you'll look back on the last and nod your head, then shake your head, then hit your palm to your forehead and laugh at your old self. That is the joy of the years stacking up, the happy knowledge of hindsight - god, if only I knew then what I know now. Which only makes me look forward to what I don't know now that I will know someday.

Chau Chau Veintetrés!

1 comment:

  1. Grace, a year has passed and you continue to write better and better and I never cease to enjoy reading your posts more and more! :) Smiling at the adventures and experiences you write about, and yearn excitedly for when I have my own.