Getting older does strange things to a person.
It isn’t just those sneaky grey hairs that only show up in nightclub mirrors or the way your body starts acting like a complete stranger overnight, it’s also in the way that seeing a smiling photo of a distant friend makes your heart ache for the laughter you stopped sharing as life and its complications stepped between you.
It’s in the phrases you never thought you’d utter, like “I can’t come and see you until next month, work’s got me so flat out at the moment” and before you know it, it’s 2012 and five long years have somehow slipped by since you last wrapped your arms around them in a hug or even heard their voice over the phone.
My heart is much bigger than I am, and inside it lies the memories of all the people I’ve loved. Sometimes one of them calls to me from the past and my throat aches from holding in the sobs that threaten to crash all over me.
I vow to change it all, to take some time off and spend a few days alone with them, getting to know who they’ve become in the time that I became a ghost. The next day another bill arrives in the mail and the trip gets pushed back once more, or our schedules conflict and neither of us can get it together.
In my version of growing up, I’ve stopped being who I was in order to become a Proper Adult but even there, I’m failing. Somewhere, there’s a happy medium where the old me finds the new me and discovers they can both share this body without threatening the future I’ve worked hard to attain.
Maybe that’s all growing up is meant to be? Maybe it has nothing to do with buying a car or a house or having babies. Maybe growing up is all about reconciling the many different versions of ourselves and learning to let go of the judgements of strangers or loved ones whilst trying not to harm them with the sharp edges we all have.
I’m not sure, but I do know that there’s a girl who once laid on my bed, throwing my floor clothes in the air and shouting “secret surprise!” as a mystery article of clothing fell on our faces who I’d desperately love to see face to face, instead of on facebook, and it’s probably time that I put her ahead of my bills, my work or my beloved couch-fort weekends.