Date: 30 November 2015.
Location: Snuggled up in bed while the wind roars outside. It's about to be winter in London!
I turned 30 last month. I finally admitted, under duress and in the face of unyeilding mathematics and biology, that I'm not a kid anymore.
Since then, three very different experiences have left such strong impressions on me that I'm determined to let each, and the lessons they prompted, shape my next decade.
First, I went to hot yoga. Funny, scroll back a page or three of this blog and you'll see a lot of references to hot yoga. From entries in January 2015 onwards? Not even an oblique reference. I'm not sure why I let yoga slip so easily. It made me very happy for a while so why was I so very ready to replace it with an extra hour's sleep, another night at the pub or an extra three hours at my desk? I'm equally baffled by why I ended up back on the mat. I just woke up a few Sundays ago — blissfully alcohol-fog free — and decided to do something good for myself. An hour later I found myself in a hot, dark room underneath a Tesco express on Pentonville Rd. I was skeptical. It was bloody hot. All of the yogis in the foyer were lithe and leonine. The guy manning the front desk was covered in sweat from the last class and grinning like an idiot. My class was going to be ninety minutes of torture, I just knew it.
And I was right.
Every asana was a pain in the ass, I was slick with sweat within minutes, I wanted need to punch the cutesy yoga instructor every time he came by to adjust my posture, I felt claustrophobic and exhausted and useless and I despised staring at my pale blobiness in the inescapable mirrors. How did I get here? Who was that floppy, pudgy girl giving me the evil eyes from the mirror? However, the second I flopped back onto the mat for savasna/to die, I knew I'd be back. I was dizzy and sore, heavy with sweat-logged workout gear, as I left class. I was also smug and craving a green juice.
So, lesson 1: You need to do more exercise and you need to eat better. Start with hot flow yoga. It's super hard — and it makes you happy.
Second, I was at a cocktail bar in Islington. I'm super biased here but I think my friends are just gorgeous. Every single one of them. Even when they're sloshed and messy after too many half price martinis at the Dirty Martini happy hour on a Friday night. We were chatting about the finer points of life when one of Twiggy's friends mentioned that she gets Botox. She is twenty five years old. Then a second friend admitted the same. A fascinating conversation ensued: Why do you get it? Where? When? Do I need to get it? Apparently it's a preventative measure for there's little any injectible can do for you once you have deep wrinkles. We need to freeze them now.
Let's put aside (a) how hilarious this is and (b) what this says about society for my third lesson to myself.
Lesson 2 is this: You're at a certain age now. We're not paying games or getting do-overs. Things you start doing will truly mould what your future looks like and, whether that's Botox, eating organic, seeing your dentist every 6 months or making regular deposits into a savings account — get into it. I won't hurt a bit.
Third, I ran into a guy I had a brief fling with a few years ago (read: I had huge crush). It was one if those pristine and utterly self-contained moments you usually see on a screen. It was an Wednesday, Melbourne was oversaturated with sunshine, it was hot. I'd popped out for work to get lunch and was dashing in heels back across Exhibition Street. Stuck on the traffic island between roaring city taxis and impatient 4WDs I clutched Roll'd crab rice paper rolls and an Earl flat white when, between the streams of cars, I glimpsed a stunningly familiar figure. Tall and too lean, he was walking with his dad. I gawked. Then, remembering myself, I waved a little. He saw me, said goodbye to his dad. The pedestrian light turned green. I crossed the road towards him, he crossed the road towards me. We met in the middle and kissed on the cheek.
'Aren't you meant to be in London?' He asked.
'Yep.' I grinned. 'Aren't you meant to be in the Netherlands?'
'Yep. Funny, hey?' Cool as you like.
Then he kept walking — and so so did I. I retreated back into the cool safety of the office tower, utterly bemused.
Ten minutes later my Australian phone buzzed with an unknown number. I experienced my usual panicky reaction: Eep! Who is this? What do you want? Why can't you text me like a civil person? What have I done now? Do I have to answer? Probably not. But voicemail is so much worse! Errrgh. I hate everyone. Then, resignation. A sigh. I press the green button.
'Hello, Alex speaking.'
'Hi. It's me. Er, sorry about that before. I … didn't expect to see you. Was a bit taken aback. Sorry.'
'Fair enough.' Then, 'You still have my number?' Nice work with the obvious, moron.
'Guess so. So…. what's up?'
An hour later I hung up. I was amazed by how much I had to say to someone I hadn't seen in 5 years — and didn't even know that we'll back then.
Lesson 3: You just spark with some people and miss with others. There's absolutely no need to spend time rubbing sticks together (ahem) to make a spark with someone if it ain't there. In light of this, probably a good time to tell you that I broke it off with The Journalist.