Friday, February 02, 2007

Going soft in my old age

There are two things that are guaranteed to make me reminisce - smells and songs. Recently, my gym has taken to playing 80s pop hits (very enjoyable but definitely "dating" when people see you know every word to "You Spin Me Right Round"). This morning, as I was lying on a mat trying to stretch out my bum hip, I was taken aback by a flood of childhood memories that randomly reappeared as a result of hearing Sheena Easton's "9 to 5".

I would have been about six years old when this record was released in 1981. (Yes, math wizzes, that makes me 32). And it wasn't big events or momentous occasions that I remembered, it was small things, little pieces of a puzzle that made up my childhood. The smooth pinkiness of my mum's hands when she took mine; the smell of her on cardigans (sweaters in US) that I used to wrap around my pillow at night; the taste of an orange lolly (ice popsicle in the U.S.) bought for me by my dad on Sundays in summer after we drove back from the dump (landfill); Sundays with my nan and mum dancing with me in the living room as we listened to the national charts on the radio; my dad wrestling with me until I screamed "peanuts!". Then, laying there on a mat in California Fitness, I was hit but a sudden but very palpable sense of loss. The thought that I would never again do those things with those people, that the joy and security I felt as a child was gone, that I was missing so many moments now with my parents being so far away. I actually almost (I said almost) cried. I was happy and sad all at once. I had such a wonderful childhood and I had (have) fantastic parents who I adore.

It's funny how much things can change without you ever really taking a moment to process it. There are some days when I'm driving to work when I'm actually almost amazed that I am driving- when did it happen that I passed my driving test and started going places on my own, on my own schedule? Then I realize I own the car (alright, well strictly speaking its owned by Travis Federal Credit Union), I have a good job, I own my own house and - even more inexplicably - I live in a completely different country to where I grew up.

There are moments in my life where I live these changes anew - as if they just happened. It's almost as if I stepped out of my life for a while and, when I came back, all these things had happened while I was gone. It's so ODD!

Getting older (and I recognize I'm not exactly ancient - don't take me literally) is just interesting and frustating and fascinating and unexpected and challenging. It's nothing like I ever thought it would be when I was younger.

But what I did remember in my odd moment at the gym IS that it's the little things that make a life, a happy life. It's the moments that, at the time, pass you by as normal and insignificant. It's today. So, I resolve to be happy today, because you never know what you'll remember 20 years from now when you're lying on a mat in the gym...

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