All Aboard!

Here’s the thing about getting older: you decide if you do. Well, yes, we age, it’s noticeable, physically and psychologically, but all in all we decide if we’re ultimately old even though society deems us so when we’re tapping away at taxes and medical aid and car payments and watching the early evening news. We can’t go out two nights in a weekend because it’s exhausting and we’re slowly getting used to sophisticated wine, laughing at our younger selves who were bowing down before R18 bottles in Pick n’ Pay. And it’s funny to think that was just 3 years ago. And that back then, we could get away with wearing unimportant hoodies and jeans and buying late-night cheeseburgers without any inclination of trying to shop for Woolies salads and pro-Noakes foods. We could also get away with our parents buying us concert tickets.

Getting old.

It’s such a negative term, isn’t it? When I turned 25 last week, the questioning, the remarks were expected: tannie, ouma, jou ou ding. The phrase “a quarter of a century” terrified me. Mostly because I sounded like an old, hackneyed ship that was pulling into a port, creaking off the waves while locals prayed that my anchors would work. I hope ol’ quarter of a century makes it to shore! Aye! Aye! And I’d sit steadily while seagulls pooped and plastered the loose decks. And all I could think about the day after my birthday was: Abandon ship! Abandon ship! Luckily on my special day, I was surrounded by family and friends who made me realise how young at heart I was every year around my birthday. The long, hard hangovers the next day revealed it, too.

comfrt

But the 20-somethings are a little overwhelming in that you’re supposed to harness some sort of ‘adulthood-ship’. There goes that reference again. Our parents and grandparents nudge us with thoughts about settling down, paying for more and eventually making a new human to endure the same situation we’re faced with now. I won’t poke people who are in that situation now. Just that I would personally like my ship in working order, several advancements with a masterful crew before I intend on reaching that point. And why invest, if you haven’t finished working on yourself?

Let me stop being mildly pessimistic about this. I was just thinking that perhaps it’s okay to delay this ‘adulthood-ship’ for as long as possible; that we can give a big finger to the idea that by 25, we’re supposed to have found what we really want in life and where we’re supposed to be. Because, I believe we won’t for a while and that some people, even at 40, don’t fit into that perfect situation in their heads.

Maybe we never will, but we should never stop searching or trying and believing that we can or that we could reach some sort of conclusion (perfect or not) that makes us happier. While we may be more settled, pay our usual scheduled payments and hope for the odd night when you become ‘wild’ and order tequila, there is an idea that ageing is becoming comfortable.

Becoming anchored.

In truth, it should be a spring board into a new realm. It should almost be an uncomfortable excitement where plans are doings and anchored ships are only anchored to replenish and restore and rearm for fresh adventures and new unexplored areas. Sometimes, we have to do it ourselves, sometimes with a crew at hand, but either way, it’s us steering and reaching for a situation that is never stagnant. Don’t become stagnant. There’s nothing more hopeless than seeing someone settle on how things have gone instead of them paving a way that is more suited to what they want out of life. It’s a little easier said then done. Well, until it’s done – then you look back and see how it easy it was changing your attitude towards something.

Abandoning ship ain’t so bad after all and letting loose of those reigns is okay, too. As long as you have an idea or prolong that need to search for one, drowning will never be an option. Wanting more is not selfish. It’s almost necessary in a Life that commands normality. Wanting more is a little taste of your soul knowing and crying out for something other than what is around you – even though you’re thinking that wanting change is just some ‘quarter of a century’ phase that we’ll all get over. It’s not. When that little voice in the back of your mind tugs at new ideas, it’s because your heart wants it.

All aboard. It’s up to you.
 

Bravery

(for my brother Brent on turning 21)

He holds a knowing look
a bravery that’s understated
but deafening
a kindness that reaches beyond
a person’s heart
With honesty, with age, with wisdom
comes a man who holds more than he knows
a man that holds love for the world’s unknown
the world’s little mysteries
his world’s people
his world’s love

He understands his place
treats the universe with a sense that it might go away
he will hold your hand because some day it will go away
he’ll be there if you need him
whenever you call
he arrives with a humble stride, a steady hand
a helpful glance to the sky
everything, everything will be alright

he has a never-ending hope
that he will climb any worry
that he will conquer any struggle
because he has already been knocked down
he’s gotten up
stronger
braver
wiser
better than before

And now the world is new
and it waits for him

His eyes bright, sensing that over at the horizon
there’s another, and another, and another
that’s how he lives
that each dream sprints onto fresh dreams
that each day can be filled with new faces
new desires
a sense that nothing will be better
than a family’s embrace
a crush’s kiss
a father’s teaching
a mother’s helpful way
A sister’s knowing, shared thought

So go on
because there’s a path that has never been walked on
it’s stones brushed new from the earth
the wayward journey
well, it’s up to you to carve the way

So Brave one
beside life’s crushing, awful, beautiful, splendid moments

Remember that you are you
that nothing can alter your way
that you hold so much purpose
so much grace
so much love

No one can beat you off the track
that no one can waver your head
that no one can speak of you without knowing
your heart

Happy Birthday Madiba

Thunderous

Deafening icon

A boxer’s gloves

A saint’s heart

A fighter’s rage for freedom

Making colours washed

And carrying hope

under chain

under history’s turmoil

confusion

and schemes

 A strong heart

And hope that this will be his legacy

A forever design

Struggle in life, life for struggle

After climbing a great hill, one will find many more hills to climb

 

And he climbed

Flag on the hill of colours

sweeping moments where people shook their heads

prayed

ran away

only to find that the flag kept waving

 It always seems impossible until its done.

And it wasn’t ridiculous

The brawl for recognition and humanity

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.

And may the rays flicker

Burn

Smoulder

 When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.

So we carry on with beginnings

With no end in sight

So we can keep

An inheritance of abandon

And promise

 Qunu’s father

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

And we get up

And again

And again

turn on ‘invincible’ switch

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson

There’s a crick in my neck on my 23rd birthday.It’s today. It’s as if Age slapped me awake saying “This is how it all starts and feels, buddy.” There is a downcast feeling of birthday-ing after you’ve revelled in your teens and drunk-up 21st. But today, it’s a little great to wake up being older, wiser, happier and ‘in my prime’ so to say. I wouldn’t say I’ve got boring. Or have planned on having babies like so many girls my age. I think I will live in a complete ‘me’ state until I can. I still see myself as a kid, a flip file with a whole lot of plastic sleeves yet to carry the memories, trips, old and new friends, love, satisfaction, disappointment and laughter. Right now, its commonplace for me to start paying bills, buy myself stuff, and make sure I plan out a budget; chit-chat about Zuma’s ANC, the damn petrol price and wrinkle cream.

Actually, last night a bunch of my friends got together and the wrinkle cream debate came up. How early is too early? Is it too early? Never thought I’d be thinking about it. The thought’s disappeared now. Anyway, I think it’s a considerable crossroads now. When you’re 23, you’re not young. Certain social spots are drenched with soaked up high-schoolers whose vocabulary consists of “wasted” and “OMG”. I used to be like that. Then again, 23 is not old. You can get in any ‘older’ club now but you still breathe youth. No bald spots. No wrinkles. No grey touts. I’m a kid though. Cartoons. Rock. Free entrance. Cheap food. Cheap booze. Cheap calls. While I live in luck for the moment, with good friends, the best family, a great job and straight teeth, I am exultant to be looking ahead and enthralled at what Age might bring me. When the unexpected might turn up.

Yesterday builds tomorrow and while I pine for more, I know that something lies ahead of me now. Passion and upgraded thoughts of voyages to everything and nothing, meeting people who are characters in thought but real in talk, in experiences. I am happy to meet the future me. I’m considering busting out Fun’s “We Are Young” or Alphaville’s “Forever Young”.

Today is the youngest I’ll be again. While you’re reading this, it’s the oldest you’ve ever been. When we were young, our minds were turned on Invincible. Don’t grow up and switch that attitude off. It’s the wisest manner to uphold every day you’re alive. Here’s to my twenties.