September 30, 2010 by Rhi
I’m 30. Ouch. Not 20 something. No longer in my youth. I’ve found myself back in my home town, living in the same house as I grew up in. The same house that I left almost exactly 10 years ago for a whole new life. And it’s hard work.
I was thinking about the leaving of Glasgow back in 2000, and I realised I can’t remember the actual act of moving out of this house. I can remember packing my belongings in preparation. And I can remember saying farewell to my Mother at the church that Sunday, as we headed off down the M74 on the road south. But the actual packing of the car, the transfer of my things from what was my bedroom, to the symbolic chariot (a L-reg Citroen LX estate) of my new life, has been lost in the mists of time. I can’t remember the exact moment when I stopped living here.
And now I’m back, faced with the things which seem so familiar, but at the same time are now completely alien to me having been away for so long. The first amusing exchange came when I returned to my local church for the first time in many years. Sitting in a group of my grandmother’s friends, one of them was talking to Gran about how old they both were. The friend then turned to me and asked “And how old are you now?”, in the manner of someone asking a small child. I don’t know what she was expecting me to say, but from her reaction, I’m guessing my deadpan “30” wasn’t on the list.
And that’s the trouble with being back after such a long gap. To some of the people left behind, I’m like a fly caught in amber. Trapped in their minds as a 20 year old going off into the world. The reality of the situation will take some getting used to, for me more than them. I’m not the kid with my whole life ahead of me. I’m a fully established adult, with a trail of broken dreams and ‘should-a could-a would-a’s lying behind me. And in some ways, I’m dreading them catching up with me. Because that’s when the uncomfortable questions start. The reasons why I don’t have children… the reason why I’m not married any more. A hundred things I’ve done in my life away from this bubble, and which I’ve tried to outrun, rather than deal with. And now, I’m here. And there’s nowhere to run to.
I overheard a conversation in Guides tonight, with one of the patrols discussing how much their trainers cost them. I vaguely tried to remember how much mine cost. And then I remembered that I’d bought them when I was in my first job in Wales. In 2000. And given that the average age of these girls was about 11, I realised that I bought these shoes when most of them were still trying to walk. Which makes me old enough to be their mother. Ouch.
I’m not young anymore. And I’m OK with that. I might never get the chance to do the things I really want to in life. But I don’t need to be ashamed of the things I have done. All I can do is forge on ahead and try to make up for lost time. There’s no point in coveting what others have, or mourning what may have passed me by.
With that in mind, I think I might have found a wedding venue today. And it’s a pub. A proper, glorious, wood pannelled, real ale serving pub. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself for the wedding of the century….