Sunday, May 22, 2016

Adventure

'I thought by the time I'd reached this age life would be easier'.  This was something someone at work said to me recently.  We were exchanging stories about how life was, well, all a bit exhausting and hard.  It's true.  Somehow maybe we all think that being young is the difficult bit.  Looking around it feels like everyone else has their shit together...except for me.

So apparently I'm not alone.  Maybe the reality is that life always has hurdles, but perhaps they change as you get older.  My teens and twenties (and part of my thirties if I'm honest) was spent doubting myself.  Never feeling good enough, attractive enough and yes the classic - thin enough.  I worried about money and lived pay to pay.  But I did go out a lot and lived off very little.  My main concern was finding my place in life.  Looking back now, I think I did, but my self doubt was always there lurking.

Today I turned 46.  The last 12 months has actually been one of the hardest years to date.  In fact, just a few weeks ago I really thought i was going to break.  I couldn't take the strain and stress of what Peter's work was doing to him.  This coupled with my own really exhausting job there wasn't a lot of joy to be had.  Worrying about money and the future will do that to you.  I was withdrawing and hunkering down.  Funnily enough someone at work commented that I was always smiling.  'Not always', I replied, 'I was crying in my office the other day when everything got too much'.  It seems most people I know are dealing with some stress or hardship.  Not everyone gets to see that though.

Last night we went to see The Glass Menagerie at the Malthouse Theatre.  Although I'd read A Streetcar named Desire at school that was all the Tennessee Williams I was familiar with.  The dialogue was fantastic and the performances flawless.  So many of the themes resonated with me.  But these lines struck a chord, especially in relation to the last 12 months.

In scene 4 Tom and his Mother Amanda talk:

AMANDA: Why do you go to the movies so much, Tom?
TOM: I go to the movies because - I like adventure.  Adventure is something I don't have much of at work, so I go to the movies.
AMANDA: But, Tom, you go to the movies entirely too much !
TOM: I like a lot of adventure.
AMANDA: Most young men find adventure in their careers. 
TOM: Then most young men are not employed in a warehouse.
AMANDA: The world is full of young men employed in warehouses and offices and factories.
TOM: Do all of them find adventure in their careers?
AMANDA: They do or they do without it! Not everybody has a craze for adventure.
TOM: Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter, and none of those instincts are given much play at the warehouse !

And later in scene 6 Tom talks to his work friend Jim:

TOM: I'm planning to change. I'm right at the point of committing myself to a future that doesn't include the warehouse and Mr Mendoza or even a night-school course in public speaking.
JIM: What are you gassing about?
TOM: I'm tired of the movies.
JIM: Movies! 
TOM: Yes, movies ! Look at them ? All of those glamorous people - having adventures - hogging it all, gobbling the whole thing up ! You know what happens? People go to the movies instead of moving! Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them! 

I think a life lived without adventure is a life less lived.  Whatever your idea of adventure may be. Amanda's line that people either found adventure in their mundane lives or just went without, broke my heart.  It came from a woman worn down by life.  Struggling.

Recently Peter left his job, and all the stress and awfulness that went along with it.  This weekend because it was my birthday we had planned our own little adventures - lunch out, looking through bookshops, theatre, champagne.  Small things many people do every week, but we got to do them without stress and worry hanging over our heads.  We talked of the future and began planning a holiday next year.  We had cancelled our little holiday to Tassie this year thanks to financial stress, which crushed us.  

So maybe life doesn't get easier as we get older.  Perhaps no-one actually has their shit together 100% of the time.  But maybe if you can hang on and get through it all there are adventures further down the road.  We don't have to 'do without' or watch adventures happen to other people while we sit in the dark.  It's time to take a deep breath, shake off the shroud of the last 12 months and plan for  future adventures.