By AMY DORRINGTON
In three weeks time I will turn 28.
28 years of age; well and truly on my way to a mid-life crisis.
Ten years since I first set foot in my co-ed university dorm, wearing a singlet I bought from the Just Jeans kids section (evidently I was a late developer) and was introduced to the wonderful world of the toast-diet, which is exactly as you would imagine: surviving on toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner (which later led me to become acquainted with the not-so- wonderful world of Fresher Spread*).
I can confidently attest to the fact that I have failed at every single life goal I set for myself at age eighteen, when my biggest concern was the price of Smirnoff Blacks and when my unhealthy obsession with quality educational material (Cosmo magazine) really gained momentum and began to infiltrate my mind cogs… Married to the elusive ‘Mr Right’ at age 24. Kids (one boy and one girl obviously) at 26. Dream job, big house, blah blah blah… VOMIT CHUNDER SPEW.
Give me a break.
At almost 28, I’m not married (sorry Cosmo), nor am I engaged to be; I’m far from working in my dream job, I don’t own a house, or a car, nor am I responsible for any small creatures, like a child (sorry Nanna) or dog.
Even the thought of looking after a bloody pet fish terrifies me… which is probably comforting for all animalkind, considering the last pet I owned (Bruce the pink Siamese Fighter Fish) survived for an entire five weeks because his tank got buried under the piles of text books in my uni dorm room.
And by text books I mean empty Red Bull cans and Coolabah goon casks.
I fall off my bike when I’m riding slower than my grandma walks, I can barely even tie my own shoelaces and sometimes I still eat cocktail frankfurts and potato chips for dinner.
Thankfully, since the ripe old age of eighteen, my brain miraculously developed (despite an unquestionable decline in the number of brain cells) and as a result, my priorities and expectations of myself seemed to change. I travelled, I lived overseas, I moved cities.
I made some of the most insanely amazing friends and got to know my family all over again; this time as an adult. I forgot to pay rent, I borrowed money from my parents, I took six years to do a three year degree but I eventually graduated with decent grades.
I bungee-jumped, I skinny-dipped, I surfed, I snowboarded. I managed to go out four nights a week despite being dirt poor, because I lived on Mi Goreng and Fruity Lexia (was this the cause of the prolonged period it took to complete my degree? Absofuckinglutely). I went on countless terrible dates, some great ones and discovered both the delights and detriments of singledom.
I worked every kind of part-time job imaginable, from serving in a bar where it was compulsory to be smashed every shift, to managing (aka toilet cleaning and dishwashing) a backpacker hostel, to hosting at an Italian restaurant, which I’m pretty sure was just a cover for the meeting place of the Sicilian mafia.
I saw great things and did great stuff and even learned from (most of) my countless great mistakes. None of these things were in accordance with my eighteen-year-old self’s ‘grand life plan’ but I am fucking glad they weren’t. Why? Because I HAD FUN.
Two and a half years ago, I also became an aunty for the first time, to the spawn of my younger brother and his Swedish girlfriend.
I know, how scandalous, you say.
Mixed- ethnicity couple, a dude from an educated, middle-class family a father at 23; a child out of wedlock. That’s the stuff of my nanna’s worst nightmares.
This definitely wasn’t in my plan either, and I have to admit that when I found out my baby brother was going to be a dad, I nearly spat out my day-old kebab onto the face of Ridge Forrester.
(Okay, you caught my bluff. I wasn’t technically in the company of Ridge from The Bold & The Beautiful – he was on my TV screen during said kebab-eating and baby-news-surprise… my point is, I was shocked).
I was confused and unsure how to feel about discovering that my baby brother was going to be a father. Up until that point, I wasn’t even sure he had even had sex before, despite having been with his girlfriend for five years. I guess the whole baby-situation soon cleared up that myth.
I was in denial that he too was a grown-up and wasn’t exactly following the bloody plan, according to my 18-year-old-self. But I eventually got over my self- centred meltdown and said FUCK IT. My not-so-little brother has a baby: they’re happy, I’m happy, and everyone in our family is happy. Even my grandma who is completely stoked to have a great-grandchild.
And then? I finally let go of any remaining notion of my grand plan.
So yes, I may be almost 28 and may or may not still fall off my bike, but you know what the fucked up thing about that is? WHAT, I hear you ask, GET TO THE FUCKING POINT ALREADY, I hear you cry. Well I’m glad you asked, dear reader. The most fucked up thing is, that regardless of my dysfunctional existence and debatable bike-riding ability, I am ridiculously happy.
I have a crazy family who I love, an equally insane, legendary group of friends and I’ve just started dating the most genuine, decent guy I’ve ever met who doesn’t even care that I am a Siamese fighter fish murderer. None of these people have even flinched at my deranged behaviour or been discouraged by my lack of shit-togetherness or my tendency to deviate from this imaginary ‘plan’ we are conditioned to believe.
It’s disgusting, I know. How can someone with so few winning attributes and not even one dog, be so sickeningly content with life? The answer is simple, my friends. No, I’m not getting all philosophical-Dalai-Lama on your asses with my whole twenty-eight years of middle-class white girl experience. I’m saying the answer is simple, quite literally.
Taking pleasure in the simple things (stop cringing). It could just be the reaction on your mum’s face when you explain what a camel toe is, a no-hands hammock dive challenge in your best white dress that results in your ass covered in mud and you on the ground hysterically laughing at yourself.
Or that smug feeling of jubilation when you praise yourself for wearing pants to work instead of a skirt so you can spread your legs out like a man without revealing what you had for breakfast.
I say embrace the falls, laugh at the simple stuff and fuck the life plan.
*Fresher Spread: the enchanting name bestowed upon first year uni students (‘Freshers’) who’ve packed on the kilos faster than a Maccas drive thru employee, as a direct result of a diet consisting solely of beer, toast and KFC.
Amy Dorrington is an ex-Queenslander, currently residing in sunny Melbourne and making a living working for a technology company. When she’s not blatantly attempting to dazzle people with her charm, wit and incredible modesty, Amy enjoys interpretive dancing, eating to the point of food-baby and pretending to care about AFL (because her grandad told her if she doesn’t like AFL she doesn’t have a soul). Amy has a degree in Media & Sociology, a tendency to overuse the word ‘magical’ and has just started a blog called ‘Winning at Failing’. You can find her blog here, her Twitter here and her Facebook page here.