I truly Love being back at school. The penny drops and some readings sink in every once in a while, and for just a moment, I feel like a fucking academic rockstar.
I could spend the rest of my adult life languishing in books and journals and online resources all day. Words are delicious and reading and writing is a special kind of heaven for a logophile like myself.
Being an adult student pisses all over my undergrad and postgraduate diploma experiences. I actually want to be there now. It is the least stressful and in some ways most rewarding part of my life (sorry kids, husband, job and activism) right now. Probably mostly owing to the fact I know it will all be over by August. I felt the same giddiness about the first few events I managed when I got back to work, and the first weeks of my youngest children’s lives. I guess I like variety.
Anyway, what was I on about again?
Ah, yes, so I seriously love being back at school. I was in the library all day yesterday and today, and I’m up on the all but abandoned 4th floor that smells of books, and ink, and laptop fans and coffee. This is lucky, as the main floor smells of young people. You know the smell, like the 7th form common room. Lynx and sweat and raging hormones. So much yuck. Much prefer the musty smell of books to that of millennials. Nothing wrong with young people, we were all young people at one time or another, I just rather prefer being a feisty middle-aged mother of four.
I have earned my stripes in this life, and have crammed a decade worth of living and adventure into each and every year since striking out on my own (mostly) at the age of 16.
One of the nice things about getting/being older is the reminiscing. I wouldn’t want to do my teens or twenties over again for all the tea in China (China, CHINA… can’t help myself… Trump memes are like brain worms) but I do like thinking back on my incredibly interesting coming of age.
You’ve heard the saying “youth is wasted on the young” well I think that’s stone cold bullshit. Youth is not a waste. It is very important. Doing dumbass shit and becoming self aware and connected to a bigger purpose than ourselves is a destination only possible through the trials, heartache, laughter, tears, dramatics, awkward sex, fleeting first kisses, epic adventures and learning how to be resilient through all of this shit.
Youth is best spent in a body that can handle the punishment that comes with making many bad (and some fabulous) decisions. So, it is not wasted on the young. It is perfectly suited to them. And they can fucking HAVE IT!
So today’s soundtrack was exclusively 90’s fare. I listened to Counting Crows, and Lisa Loeb, and then the COMPLETE Third Eye Blind collection. I was transported to the University of Calgary and our four bedroom apartment in Castle Hall. They’ve since torn that whole complex that was built for the 1988 winter olympics down.
Chain smoking, beer for breakfast and working a full time job at a coffee shop on campus called (ever so originally) The Coffee Company. I Loved that job. I got another “foreign” student friend a job alongside me there. We’ve all but lost touch now. Her name was Sarah and she works as an events manager or something in Queenstown. I see her shit come up on Facebook or Instagram occasionally, but we’ve taken very different paths and don’t have mutual friends anymore. I see the other fabulous Australian Jess online a lot, we share a lot of political views so I like reading her status updates and shit.
So this trip down memory lane got me thinking. If I could go back and give skinny, insecure, campus bicycle (just about everyone had a ride) Dee some really solid advice it would include:
- Listen, like ACTUALLY FUCKING LISTEN to that voice that says “that isn’t a good idea Dianna…” but listen MORE to the voice that says: “HEY! You should DO THAT!”
- STOP SMOKING.
- Give less fucks about what people think, most people whose opinions matter to you today will fall into obscurity (even with social media) and be replaced with people who are smart, kind, caring, quirky, wonderful and treat you with Love and respect.
- Definitely go out with the sweet short guy you’re going to meet in a few years named Steve, and definitely do tell him that you can’t be bothered dating anyone who doesn’t want kids (together you’ll have four)
- Love the shit out of everything and do not be ashamed. Your passion and enthusiasm will take you all over the planet, and it will be amazing. It does run out though, so use up every morsel while you can before it does.
- Dance and sing and go on a lot of road trips.
- The freedom you have right now is something you’ll not think of as a gift until it is replaced with the trappings of being an adult and all the responsibilities contained therein, so be free (and wrap up every single time if you’re feeling randy)
- Enjoy your own company. You won’t realize how precious and wonderful being by yourself is until your mid 30’s and you almost NEVER get to be by yourself for any length of time ever. Seriously. Even going to the toilet will include an audience when you have four fucking kids, so go sit under a tree somewhere and just fucking be, because you won’t be getting a lot of those moments with a young family in tow.
- Be confident and humble. You’ll figure it out…
So, seeing as I do not have a time machine to go back and tell me these things, I will instead hope that my kids benefit from the wisdom bred from my many adventures. Sprinkle on top of this Phteven’s own vast and varied life experience, and the kids will have a lot to draw on if they ever need advice.
So I am going to leave you with a song that my husband and I listened to on countless road trips and adventures together (before and after we had kids) from one of my top three favourite obscure Canadian bands. Do yourself a goddamned favour and listen to the whole thing, because it is CRAZY how history repeats and some things do not change, while others totally do.
Here’s “Stuck in the 90’s Again” by my main men from Eastern Canada (who are WELL over 30 now BTW)
Thank you for reading.