Just over one month ago, I returned from the most inspirational and educational adventure of my life. I travelled lonesome to Europe for 15 weeks, 109 days and a gruelling (just kidding) 9,417,600 seconds. I couldn’t wait to see the world, but only now do I realise that I’ve barely scratched the surface. Come with me and learn a bit more about places you mightn’t have heard of, and what travelling solo was like in the eyes of a 21 year-old novice.
I was sixteen when I spotted my first grey hair. My boyfriend and I laughed it off humorously, knowing very well it was probably blonde and I was being melodramatic. To be honest, I wasn’t fazed by ageing at that stage. I couldn’t wait for the days of pimple parties and itty bitty titties to seize. I wanted a driver’s licence, full-time job, place of my own, and money; as if it would all be handed to me on a silver platter. When you’re young, you view age as opportunity and knowledge, awaiting the world to greet you with open arms and pat you on the back for graduating adolescence.
At nineteen, adulthood came pounding on my door. ‘Can I pull off the fake managerial experience I’ve claimed to have on my resume?’ ‘Why do I have to pay tax?’ I’d been to university twice and deferred twice: unsure of my career aspirations. The world was finally at my fingertips and I had nothing to show for it. I was lost, unmotivated, unhappy, and concerned that my potential would never be more than just that. Instead of dancing through life in a protective bubble, I was now dodging bullets from my own gun. Welcome to the real world.
And then, just as I was wallowing in self-pity, the ‘sigh’ came knocking without invitation. You know, the infamous sigh of relief that happens after you sit down from overexertion that isn’t warranted, letting you know that your limbs are past their best before date. That’s it. I’d reached my peak and it was all downhill from there. The days of picking up the dropped juice lid were long gone, as it became a question of whether the lid was worth my suffering. Wrinkles were on the cards soon, and I wasn’t sure if sticky tape would suffice. The only thing I had going for me was libido.
And yet, the closer I came to diminishing libido, the more I realised that signs of ageing are our medals of privilege. The looser your skin and thinner your hair, the more stories to tell at family barbeques or nursing home speed dates (that should definitely be a thing). So far, my medals represent becoming an aunty to my two favourite little humans, backpacking around Europe for four months, having an education and loving home, and witnessing same sex marriage legalisation in Australia. Okay, you caught me. That last one ain’t true yet but it’s years overdue.
There are actually many perks of being an adult. On the odd occasion that my parents drive me somewhere, I’m a queen being chauffeured out the palace gates as she waves to peasants in the left lane. Cake for dinner? Try stopping me. I can flaunt that top that’s a bit too booby or wear slippers to the shops because I’m a grownup now and grownups care less about what people think. Whilst part of me face-palms at the idea of turning to granny panties and Millers button-ups for comfort one day, I can’t wait to uncover the wicked tales that lie in the future of Angela Jan. I’ve learnt that with age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes gratitude.
Stick around awhile, grab a cuppa and your fluffy cat who probably hates me, and let’s grow old together. Oh, and when you spot my next grey sucker, tell me it’s blonde. See you soon, friend. ♣
Me: an outgoing introvert who loves people, but pencils into her calendar more evenings spent alone than conversing with fellow humans.
Yesterday was the big day.