I don’t know what it is about Perth that gives me this constant feeling of restlessness, sometimes it feels so physical, like I am walking around in a cloud of noise and static, completely disconnected from my surroundings. Yesterday I was told that I share stories about other people because I don’t have any of my own. It was a particularly catty moment from someone I love dearly but the insinuation that I was lacking in life experience was enough to send me into a spiral. I felt that restlessness then, a pulling under my skin in any direction other than the road that I was on. It’s a reckless, mindless urge with a will of its own and I think it’s born from that familiar panic, the one we like to punish ourselves with, of not being at the correct stage of life when we should be.
Everything I have done with my life up until now has seemed to have been done backwards or in some kind of bizarre order that I can’t even make sense of myself. I’ve had a lot of false starts and I have reached some milestones later than my Australian friends, my driver’s license for one thing. When I lived in the UK, I knew a lot of people my age and older that didn’t drive yet which should demonstrate for me how ridiculous all of these cultural and social norms are. I think the panic and restlessness that plagues my generation in particular is part of a general anxiety to be “doing something with your life”. To be living loudly and importantly and in a way that makes people sit up and take notice.
Therein lies the problem. People have always measured their own success against the successes or failures of others but with the rise of social media this has become a full time occupation in itself. With the ever increasing number of tools we can use to measure and compare ourselves with others, and I am not just referring to likes and retweets, but just the sheer visibility of people holidaying in exotic locales, designer weddings, new homes, and cherubic infants in Bonds wondersuits. Everything as glossy as a magazine. It’s no wonder one mean comment can have such an impact, especially when you’ve only ticked one or two of those ‘life’ boxes.
I don’t want to compare myself anymore. I want to travel at my own speed. I want to chase down the goals and milestones that I feel are important. And I want to do it my own way without leaning on anyone. I don’t want to feel like I want to be a different person or have a different life. I want the life that I have and all that I can make of it.
There is not much left of 2016, the year that unmade us in so many ways but these thoughts will help to carry me into next year. There’s a lot to be done and many uncertain times ahead. Things so much bigger than myself and my own insecurities. I want to help to contribute to make this world a better and safer place. If there was ever a year to strive for that it would be next year but I’ll write about my plans for 2017 another time