Twenty-Five – the golden age of my apathy. It was a bittersweet realisation to find that a number could affect me so much. I guess I just expected more to have happened, more to have come my way by now. The grandiose expectations that high school and university filled me with are not so much a myth but a folly of youth. Youth is a tremendous thing. My youth has been a thing of such ugly beauty, without being put off by the oxymoron I’ve just used. It has been a tremendous rollercoaster of the slow ride up the hill to the gigantic dives and whips and loops as I clench my teeth and hold onto my sandstone frames sitting on my nose. It has shed the light on my flaws, and equally so those of my parents, my contemporaries and my influences. I check out when she checks in, it’s all too hard when the work is there to do, fear of the competition, and fear of being viewed as inadequate, wanting to be something special. All these things I’ve identified as a plague in my existence, but it is time to chuck those insecurities into a spot where I can strangle them, or at the very least blanket them, keep them warm and make them feel comfortable. Maybe the latter is the option I’ve got to look into as a sensitive young man. I want to be anonymous, yet I want to be omnipresent, I want vibrancy, yet I need to simmer. Contradiction after contradiction. All I really know is myself, the rest I bullshit about, and I’m even questioning how much I understand about my body and soul. Don’t get me started on the soul…
There’s this burning desire to turn it all back, live life as if I’ve got a second chance to change it all around, and I know, oh I know very well it is not possible, but the feeling lingers. Twenty-Five, what a time to be alive! So just as I enter the prime of my life, I still feel like I am a Sim desperately searching for the ladder that was just deleted as my energy bar runs low. A coward crawling on his hands and knees to appease those around him and not be forced into conflict. Seeing the women I have been with fall into the laps of men who make the harder decisions, and having the arrogance to say I’d still be their first choice. Don’t make me laugh. Breaking down into tears in the cubicles at bars as the tenderness I thought I had lost reappears in the form of drunken disappointment. In saying that, do those tears re-emerge for any other reason than my own wellbeing? Do I mourn all the broken hearts around me? Do I grasp onto my friends hands and tell them I am there for them when they are hurting? I know I am hard on myself, so hard on myself. What did I expect by this age? A wife, kids, a fortune? Absolutely not. But maybe I thought I would be on my feet by now, not pottering around like a toddler after her first step.
I haven’t been able to convince a woman that I’m mature enough to begin a relationship with me, just as so many haven’t been able to convince me that I’m enough of an adult to do the same. Vicious cycles. It’s not a bad thing, my mother says. I concur, do I have to subscribe to my daily bread, wine and monogamy? I say that as I consider masturbation a viable option to break up my day. I have no interest in Catholicism from a practical sense and yet I am still bursting with Catholic guilt. The sins of my mother and father. I pride myself on the two vices that are slowly killing my soul. Women and booze. At least I’m not addicted to crack I suppose. The haze of long drunken nights has started to take its toll. My memory feels like it has softened, my anxiety is a constant, and yet I feel like I can’t give it the flick. Being sober all the time would be a challenge. I reckon I’m just too shit scared to get rid of it and come to more conclusions about what I am, who I am. I know. I’m being hard on myself. But what am I doing here?
I click onto Facebook, and there’s the young woman I spent nights of my life attending movies with purely as friends, despite the fact that we both seemed to strain for the scent of the other as we sat in comfortable silence, with her mind on her long distance boyfriend and mine on her soft skin, delicate, long fingers and her radiant smile that squashed any other feeling than the dizzying mist of desire. She’s checked into a hotel with her now returned boyfriend and they look happy. Disgustingly content. No, no, I’m really happy for them, however my soul feels a little beaten down. A guy I play cricket with the other day questioned whether I ever had felt strongly about a woman considering I appear to have a bit of a track record with short stays and excuses to get out of the house. Everything flashed before me in an instant. The near misses, the lack of conviction, my reservations about getting bored or her getting sick of me. The woman I wrote about in a blog and witnessing her lose every ounce of trust in me, despite my sickening need for her love, the girl checked into the hotel, the girl in Chicago, the girl I chased for around two years, before it became all too apparent that I wasn’t stable enough for her – I was only nineteen, is that enough? Crying into the lap of another, wanting intimacy and her to want me, knowing full well that the same questions will return the next day. The girls. Oh, the women. And here I am, at twenty-five, hearing that from a mate. He didn’t know how that deflated me. I don’t want to be a short term guy, but that’s what I’ve become because I haven’t handled being vulnerable, taking risks and coming off second best as I have done so in the past. I’m killing myself from the inside, with my mind tearing me down to irrelevancy. But I’m still here. I will still scale that mountain and turn the corner. How many times have I said that? I’m going to keep saying that and I’m going to keep striving for something. Something that I may never reach, but I’ll keep fucking striving for it. Stupid, I know, but we’ve got to strive for something, be it real or imagined.
This weird space in the back of my mind wants to blame it on my phone, my laptop, the technology in my life, but that seems to be one of the great copouts of our time. Are we so intrinsically tied to these devices that we become captive to their whims? No. Well, we don’t have to. We’ve just been slowly drawn into the convenience, the constant connection with others, even though we know it is making us bitter before our time to wander off into sunset where the grass is long and bushy enough to hide under. I think part of my flatness as I grow older comes from a number of sources. Self-medicating, quashing the feelings I have to accept, from being spiked at a music festival to my chronic issues with wasting time, leading to me… wasting time. I can’t blame any one thing, I can’t blame anyone else. This is me and this is me accepting it. I’m a selfish, narcissistic, wayward, flippant floater. A computer and phone isn’t changing that. I’m just looking for stimulation; something new, something special. It might slowly kill me, it might see my fall flat on my face, but life isn’t really a game, it’s an experience. An experience, with emotions ranging from the most dizzying highs to the self-destructive lows. When my best friend told me he wouldn’t live to see 50, I nearly ripped his head off but what can I do to change that? Moral support in the struggle, that’s what strong connections are about.
I guess I’ve just got to embrace this uncertainty. I thrive on the uncertainty, but it scares me shitless. It is said that there are five stages of dealing with your mortality, and your existence. At twenty-five I think we are destined to reach the depression stage, before moving onto acceptance. I’ve opened the door to my vulnerability, and I’m not hiding from the sadness that has been buried deep within for a long time… I know, I know, I’m hard on myself, I’ve already acknowledged that. I’ve been weighed down my expectation for long enough, I don’t have to join my ambitious friend climbing the ladder, I can succeed through all the tunnels that are left unexplored. Will I make it? Will I fall? Does it matter? No, it matters not the end result, it matters plenty the journey you go through. The narrative of life is our reason to exist, our lifeblood, the seed that people spend all their days searching for. This very blog demonstrates how a journey doesn’t have to be a physical movement from one spot to another. It can simply be a trawling trip on the keyboard from one emotion to another. I’m here, I’m twenty-five and I’ve got a story to tell, just like everyone else… and I’ve got a one-way ticket to Europe.