And that coming of age would be the hardest thing I ever did
I had a wonderful childhood.
I guess one of the ways you first realize you had a good childhood, is that all of a sudden you find yourself, grown, wondering why the heck life got so damn complicated all of a sudden.
It’s like the ignorant bliss you were habituated to basking in as a child, slowly becomes a feeling you associate most with the past — past times, past people, past happenings. It exists in the present too, just far more fleeting and interrupted in nature.
It’s not a particularly sad thing — I don’t believe that — more so, it’s just a new thing. And everyone knows that new things are meant to be difficult in the beginning.
Do you know how much I’m learning every day? So much!
I have the information of one trillion libraries at my fingertips, I have a city of nine million people outside my front door, and I have one slot of twenty-four hours every day to do my best to…to what? Live my best life?
I mean god-fucking-damn — it’s all so bloody vague!
Half of the time I’m pretending to know what I’m doing, and the other half I’m not even bothered enough to pretend. At no point whatsoever do I actually know what I’m supposed to be doing.
You know, I found out last year that I love beetroot — I can eat it cold, for breakfast, dinner, and even dessert. I discovered this after I told myself, for my entire life, that I would hate the taste. The words ‘beet’ and ‘root’ just never sounding particularly appetizing to me, I suppose.
This discovery, in particular, scares the complete hell out of me — that there’s so much I might find happiness in that I might never choose to try. So much sweetness in life I might decline in favour of my normalized suffering. Same old, same old.
I want to grab life by the… horns? the balls? I don’t know what the end of that phrase is supposed to be, if I’m being totally honest — but I want to do THAT. I don’t want to waste my time, I don’t want to give regret a chance to stick around in my head, and I don’t want to die ANY time soon… there’s far too much left for me to do!
Growing up no-one ever told me that we didn’t have the world figured out. I mean, sure, I knew there were questions only scientists with esoteric specializations would be able to provide the answers to, but I didn’t know that the world was going to be such a shitshow, until I got here, that is.
We don’t seem to have anything figured out. I never used to be included in that ‘we,’ because I was just a kid, I wasn’t responsible for anything at all, except my self, and now, all of a sudden, I am. We don’t have politics figured out in the least, we can’t all agree on a singular code of ethics, and we’re doing a pretty horrific job of living in unity with the planet and the people around us, in general.
Growing up is confusing as hell; I’m realizing that I don’t like making the rules for my own life all that much, and that I’d do a little better if I was still getting a gold star for spelling my name correctly.
In fact, I think growing up is like parenting yourself with the simultaneous input from you at age 6, and you at age 60. It feels like such a balancing act between who we once were, and who we’re trying to become.
6 year old me wants to lay in bed and dream up imaginary scenarios about my crush, my friends, and my favourite food, meanwhile, 60 year old me knows I should be going on a run, responding to emails, and doing something to better the life of someone other than myself.
I guess balance is knowing that with time, everything will change, and change, and change again, before eventually settling exactly where it’s supposed to be.
I guess balance is knowing that life is most successfully lived in the present, not the past, and nor the future.
And I guess balance is knowing that, perhaps, it was necessary for me to go 19 odd years without even tasting beetroot in order for me to truly, and completely, appreciate it now.
Alexandra Walker-Jones — August 2020