Identity

twenty-something.

Reflecting on the past year with some assistance from T. Swizzle. 

Image
This is not me. I have not walked on any train tracks over the past year.

This is my last week of being 22.

Birthdays always seem to dawn on me somewhat unexpectedly, which is awkward seeing as they are an annual thing… the occurring-on-the-same-day-every-year kind of annual.

Anyway.

I have to start by saying that I was really honoured that a song was written just for me to coincide with my twenty second year of existence. #soblessed #thankstaylor #omgitsallaboutme

Taylor, where would I have been without your words to guide me through the past year? Where, Taylor? Where?!

I guess being on the cusp of 23 means that I’m definitely a twenty-something now – my ‘early twenties’ are slipping away. Brace yourself, the ‘early-mid twenties’ are coming… Yes, I talk to myself like I live in Westeros. Oh, Alex.

After nearly three whole years of being in my twenties, here’s my limited understanding of what being a twenty-something is about:

  • Being either fairly or very broke.
  • Being somewhat discontent with life as an adult (thanks for filling me with optimism, pop culture).
  • Alcohol (consumption).
  • One part youthful optimism to one part growing cynicism.
  • Being a bit lost.
  • Flitting back and forth between living in and out of your family home.
  • Travel. As much travel as possible.
  • Change – both as a person and in the paths that you choose.
  • Self-doubt.
  • Questions.
  • Identity carving and creating.
  • Doing stupid things that you can only really get away with in your twenties.
  • Real adult relationships.
  • Real adult problems.
  • Relishing every moment before you have major life-long commitments (see: spouse, children).
  • Desperately trying to get your shit together… and in the meantime, maintaining the facade that you do…

So, if that’s what being in your twenties is about, then I guess I’m giving it a fair crack… well, I’m attempting to give it a fair crack… which has to count for something, right?

In writing this post I’ve studied the lyrics of Taylor’s poptastic hit in closer detail. And I’m genuinely surprised to report back that I think she actually knows more about being 22 than I previously thought. That sounded mean and as though Taylor is an airhead with no life experience – which was not intended – I just feel that her life is quite different to mine, seeing as I didn’t win a Grammy when I was 22… Ahh and moving on.

Upon a tad more reflection on my part, to say that my experience of being 22 was of being “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time” wouldn’t actually be too far off. Well, in the sense that it was a year of contrasting elements.

My year was…
Challenging
Successful
Crazy
Stressful
Fun
A struggle
Full of “face palm” moments
Rough
Uneventful
Quotidien
Exciting
Adventurous
Littered with unhealthy habits

It was filled with both yearning and contentment. It had some pretty terrible patches, paired with some pretty great moments, too. Despite it all, I find it comforting that I feel that I’m growing as a person and that I know myself better with every passing year. Hopefully I’m also becoming a better version of myself. This is debatable. My parents would argue that I am not. #thedisappointingchild

Honestly, I would’ve liked more out of my year; to be able to say that 22 was a BIG YEAR – a turning point (to who knows what), a time I could look back on and say that that was when something brilliant/awesome/life-changing began. However, it just felt like another year. And I have to say that that mentality scares me. I’m meant to be treasuring my twenties, not just letting them fly by flippantly. 

Ugh. I think I’m doing my twenties wrong.

Well, that sentence was really poorly structured, Alex, so yes, I would agree with your sentiments. 

See what I said about contrasts? The way I feel about something can change in the time it takes me to write a blog post.

Well, despite there being a fair chunk of change on my horizon, at least I feel much more peaceful than I did a year ago. My guess is that “the future” is going to be a significant theme in this coming year seeing as it’s my penultimate year at uni and I’m about to throw myself out into the big kid world. So, it’s also a year of preparation, exploring options, creating opportunities and deciphering dreams.

Image
But did I?? Am I?? Thanks. Now I’m stressing myself out again. Just what I needed.

 

It’s miserable and magical
Oh yeahhhhh
Tonight’s the night when we forget about the heartbreaks
It’s time…

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 22
Everything will be alright if you keep me next to you
You don’t know about me but I’ll bet you want to
Everything will be alright if we just keep dancing like we’re 22

It feels like one of those nights
We ditch the whole scene
It feels like one of those nights

We won’t be sleeping
It feels like one of those nights
You look like bad news, I gotta have you

****

Now I just have to figure out what “dancing like we’re 22” looks like.

Wish me luck.

Alex x

Advertisements

I still call you home.

ImageTanned beach babe = AUSTRALIAN.

I fell in love with the Wallabies prior to the realisation that muscular men in rugby shorts will always be a bit of a turn on for me. Despite not always being on the ball with their most recent happenings (see what I did then?), whenever I’m actually sitting there in front of the flat screen, watching the game, they become my passion once again.

When I watched my first game about a decade ago Qantas was the Wallabies’ major sponsor, as they remain today. For those of you who grew up in Australia it would’ve been hard to miss their iconic ads. (You can refresh your memories here.)* I used to get teary just listening to the children singing “I Still Call Australia Home” with the panoramas of our rather baben world flashing across the tv screen. Add Matt Giteau converting a try into the mix and I was on an emotional rollercoaster during every ad break. Yeah. I know. Needless to say that I think that the new Qantas ads are fairly s#!t, but let’s save that critique for another day.

What songs remind you of home and of your nation? For me (child with a predominantly 70s and 80s music education) they are:
Khe Sanh – Cold Chisel (God, I love this song.)
Sounds of Then (This is Australia) – Ganggajang
Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House
Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil
(Land) Down Under – Men at Work
Great Southern Land – Icehouse

Image
Outback = AUSTRALIA.

For those of you who don’t live in Australia or those of you who are on holidays in a serious way and don’t know whether we’re still in January or not, it’s Australia Day this weekend. It’s our day. Our national day. Or, alternatively, the public holiday where we all generally go to the beach, beer in hand whilst listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100.

As awesome as that stereotype is, there’s a part of me which feels pressured to celebrate Australia Day in a certain way… and the whole thing has had me asking myself what on earth it actually means to be Australian. What identifies you as an Aussie? How can you be so sure?

Is it…

  1. Being born in Australia?
  2. Holding Australian citizenship?
  3. Holding an Australian passport?
  4. Being born of one (or two) Australian parents?
  5. Living in Australia?
  6. Being an Indigenous Australian?
  7. Having an ocker accent?
  8. Using the words “mate”, “sheila” and “beaut” in your everyday vernacular?
  9. Only drinking VB?
  10. Feeling like it’s really summer when you settle in to watch the Boxing Day Test?Image
  11. Being able to differentiate between a kangaroo and a wallaby?
  12. Thinking that the majority of the population was drunk when they cast their vote in last year’s election?
  13. Knowing that Wagga Wagga is a place and that Woop Woop isn’t?
  14. Having a deep tan and sun-bleached hair?
  15. Being able to surf?
  16. Riding your pet kangaroo to work each day?
  17. Maintaining that Item 16 is true whenever a tourist asks?
  18. Salivating at the thought of Vegemite, Tim Tams, pavlovas, Anzac cookies, meat pies, Gaytimes or lamingtons?

    Image

  19. Being Caucasian? Oh, I know it’s not politically correct, but be honest with yourself here, chump.
  20. Knowing a “barbie” is so much more than a doll?
  21. Knowing that Sydney is not Australia’s capital?
  22. Being branded with a Southern Cross tattoo?
  23. Punching a random person to the ground when you’re out on a Saturday night just for fun?
  24. Shedding crocodile tears when Steve Irwin died? Bloody sting rays.
  25. Accepting that you’ll never be able to afford any property, so you’ve resigned yourself to bumming off Centrelink and renting until you die?
  26. Sleeping under the stars in a swag in the Outback?
  27. Supporting Your Team through thick and thin?
  28. Smiling at the phrase “How’s the serenity?”?
  29. Eating kiwis only because you like the metaphor?
  30. Knowing you’re home when you smell the waft of eucalyptus leaves?

    Image

  31. Knowing that funnel webs and brown tails are deadly and that koalas aren’t as cuddly as they look?
  32. Being able to recite the Don’s batting records?
  33. Only knowing the first verse of “Advance Australia Fair”?
  34. Knowing in your heart of hearts that “Here’s to Steve! He’s true blue! He’s a piss pot through and through!” is your true anthem?

What is it? What makes you or anyone else Australian? Or differentiates them as not being Australian, for that matter.

See, I don’t know about you, but I don’t fit that stereotype or ideal of what being Australian is. It’s not like I have any particular issues with this kangaroo-shaped cookie cutter (apart from Item 23), but where does that leave me and everyone else who doesn’t have a Southern Cross tattoo emblazoned across their shoulder blade? Does that make us less Australian?

ImageAustralian?

How about our friends who aren’t “white”? So non-PC, Alex. I know it is, but from my perspective, despite living in a city which is home to a multitude of different ethnic groups and races, I question how truly accepting we are of those around us. It disgusts me to admit that I have my own stereotyped prejudices of different ethnic groups within our community. Not many, but a few, nonetheless – and that doesn’t make it any less judgmental, hurtful or unfair towards those people. Perhaps it’s just me, but it feels like we’re multicultural in theory, but not in practice.

Not yet, at least.

ImageAustralia?

Since when did “being Australian” become something we could quantify and measure? (“What do you mean you’ve never watched a game of AFL?! That’s un-Australian!”) And who are any of us to tell the person sitting next to us on the train whether they’re allowed to call this country home?

So, whether you’re cheering along to your favourite song of 2013 on the countdown; sipping a stubbie on the beach; answering calls at work; eating your fourth second slice of lamington; napping on the couch or just having a regular day; I hope you have a great day on Sunday and that you enjoy your long weekend.

I think I can speak for many of us in saying that, whatever we’re doing come Sunday, we’re pretty bloody lucky. No, Australia isn’t perfect (“border protection” policy, lack of marriage equality and Sydney’s public transport, here’s looking at you!), but I think we can all agree that it’s still pretty f#*king awesome… and, if we want to, we should all be allowed to call this mesmerising continent our home.

ImageAustralian?

Alex x

* Please note that, yes, I did get teary when I watched this – partly because I had four versions to decide between for the hyperlink and partly just cos.