Something I have realised, during my many hours on the garden, is how little my fashion sense has really changed over the last 23 years. My get up for gardening is generally a vest (like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, I do love a vest), jeans (skinny and ruined) and either a baggy top over, or if the weather is fine, or the pickaxing particularly hard, tied around my waist. When I think back to my chosen garb of my youth, it really wasn’t that different: a vest, trousers or dungarees (though batik or patchwork, rather than the more tasteful (boring) skinny jean of today) and generally a long-sleeved band t-shirt tied around my waist.
Or a jumper I stole from one of my brothers. It makes me wonder really how much I have changed in the intervening years.
Of course I’ve got older, I’ve certainly got greyer (purple was my colour of choice in my youth, other than one blue experiment, which didn’t quite work), I’d like to think I’ve got a bit wiser (though I’m not always so sure of that), more confident in myself, but other than that, in my head I’m still the 18 year old I was. I now understand all those old people (probably in their 30’s or 40’s) that used to say to me, “in my head I’m still 18” when I was 18, and thought they couldn’t possibly really mean that, in fact they’d probably never been young and had to deal with the pains of youth.
When back in Leicester, I met up with my best friend from school; she was commenting on the fact I was wearing red converse, boots she’d had when we were younger, and was talking about another school friend’s 40th, where they’d danced much of the night to the music we used to dance to, and it had made her feel exactly how she’d felt in the old days.
Time is a strange thing. I don’t consider myself old, because I know I’m not old, but also because I still think of myself as that 18 year old. I realised the other day that I’m only actually about 13 years younger than J’s mum was when J and I first met – and when we first met, to the 27 year old me, she was a mature lady (I’m trying tactfully to avoid the word old). I know 13 years is a long time, but it’s not really, it’s less time than J and I have been together – and that’s already passed in the blink of an eye.
Sometimes when I’m driving along, or doing something with the kids, I step out of myself and think “Hee hee, look at me driving a car / being a mum. That can’t be me, I’m not grown up enough for that.” This year is also 20 years since I graduated university. 20 years. If I had had a child as I left, I could have my own child going through university by now. How is that even possible, it was moments ago??
So I say it again, time is a strange thing, a trickster who passes by faster and faster every year. Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t a rant about lost youth, or a bitterness aimed at the youngsters who don’t appreciate what they have (but they don’t). I’m actually enjoying the passing years, enjoying the small moments, enjoying the changes (well most of them, gravity could leave things be a bit longer….though I think that’s a long lost hope) and enjoying not growing up. Having turned my back on hair dye when the kids came along (and we got a new bathroom) I even like my grey streaks.