In ten years time

In 1997, 7 girls sat around my parents lounge in Somerset West and agreed that 10 years later we’d all congregate on top of the Empire State Building in New York. We agreed never to talk of it again, but that no matter what happens, or where we were in life, come 1 July 2007 we’d make our way to a place we’d never been before, and see each other (again).

The location choice may have had something to do with Sleepless in Seattle – a movie that I still actually haven’t seen, but through not seeing it, believe it to be an ultimate love story of star-crossed lovers who are destined to be together, but time, circumstance and… wait.. no, that’s Romeo and Juliet. Nevermind. I should probably watch Sleepless in Seattle.

But.. on 1 July 2007, not a single one of us were in New York. Not a single one of us brought it up. Actually, I may have been the only one that remembered the vow at all.

Obviously when we made this childish vow, we also thought that as soon as we finished matric finals we’d go our separate ways. We never anticipated that really, such good friends would remain that. Go on to be housemates in Stellenbosch and then in London, drink tequila shots over breakups, make-ups and lost jobs in our twenties. Dance together, eat together, travel together.

Out of those 7 girls, I’m in touch with all but one (and even her I’m in touch with over facebook but does that actually count?). We never made it to New York, because I guess.. we didn’t need to. But the promise was there. We assumed we would’ve separated, drifted, and that this vow was what would bring us all back together again. (How little faith we had in our 16 year old friendships).

Today I made a suggestion of meeting up, no matter what, in ten years time again. A suggestion for a promise, that may make saying goodbye, letting go or moving on (when it comes to that) a little easier. But…  when you’re 16, the idea of hooking up at 26, with rising careers and serious boyfriends, maybe even husbands, seemed so appealing.

Now, at 34, my imagination took me to a place where I’m 44, older, with more wrinkles, finer hair, possibly fatter and really… almost half a century old.

I shudder.

While the person I’m meeting at the end of this agreement may not be one that would care for my wrinkles, or lack of top arm definition (at least I can hope they care very little) –  this growing older thing (which differs from the growing up thing.. that which I’ve been in and out of enjoyment with) is frightening. I quickly cancelled the idea of hooking up in 10 years time – which if I’m honest, wasn’t catching on anyway.

10 years may pass and nothing may change. 10 years may pass and everything may change. It would not be the first time I’ve written about forgetting people or how quickly we move on – it happens (it also doesn’t happen at all, but lets generalise). We have this way of just being able to adjust, assume a new life and forget everything and everyone else behind.

The thing with getting older and setting up a reunion to do it, is that both of you get to look back at yourselves and think (err.. judge) – did you do the most you could do with the past 10 years? Is this the best place you could possibly be right now. With every year that passes, I think of an approaching potential reunion (for the record, I have none lined up), where my future self, asks my past self – do you still want to be in that place where you are?

A ten year reunion with someone (or a group of someones – you know, like high school. You were thinking it) is attended mostly out of intrigue, interest… plain nosiness. I guess. There’s that hope that you’d have done better than someone would’ve expected of you. But there’s that risk that you’ll be disappointed. Perhaps by the lack of connection you now have with the friend who was your best when you were 16.

I can’t even imagine myself in ten years time. I assume like the difference between 24 and 34, I’ll be wiser. I’d have to be – I’ll be older (doesn’t wisdom come with age and experience?). Hopefully I’ll be braver (ah, that’ll make the experience that’ll make me wiser).

While no future date has been agreed on, and I doubt it will or if it is, that anyone would keep it (I don’t think those types of promises ever work out) – I do hope that having planted the seed now – I take the idea of being 44, and make every year between now and then count.

Reunion. Or without.


Its not all about me

I think my mom has been telling me that my whole life.

I’m 34. My mom has been proven right over and over again. But somewhere in the past 4 years, it most definitely became all about me.

For the last few years as I’ve tried to come to terms with something so far beyond my control, I’ve turned inward, and sometimes outward (to all the wrong people, places and matter) but mostly I pulled further away from a group of dear people. My friends.
I’ve been angry why no-one has asked me how I am, and I’ve been offended when they have. I’ve put on big smiles, party shoes and faked my way onto tables and the centre of the dancing circle. I’ve drunk too much, I’ve done shots and performed dance offs and all the while I’ve wondered – “do these people not see how hurt I am??”

And then it dawned on me. Its not all about me. Where I’ve been so busy complaining and moping that everyone else isn’t focussing on what Kim wants, or how Kim feels or that Kim isn’t coping… its because:
Their life isn’t revolving around me.
They have their own shit.
Their own weird in-laws, or sick children, or dysfunctional families or long-distance boyfriends.
They’re trying to do the best they can, with what they’ve got. And while they don’t understand what it is that I could possibly be going through, the same can be said for me in understanding where they’re at. The biggest difference, and most notable of this whole realisation – I haven’t even tried to understand them either. And all the while I’ve been moaning that they haven’t bothered to understand me.

I guess it works both ways. And mom was right. Mom is always right. Its not all about me.

London is…

Cold. And wet. And dark. And pretty miserable, smelly, noisy and busy. Really busy.

London is also spontaneous. And it’s home (at least in a way).

You can call something home when you’ve lived there for 6 and a half years.
But thats not why I do.

They say home is wherever your loved ones are (they!). Well, I have two lifelong friends that are in London, and in one spontaneous evening of a wine bar and curry, those two precious friends made me long to call London home again.

Its only the lifelong friends that can truly arrive at a wine bar in a down duvet with sleeves (and call it a jacket) and then invite themselves along to your dinner for two (and you honestly don’t mind if they do!). They can make you laugh, they can reprimand you, roll their eyes at you, take your shit, treat you like a sister and give you the tightest hug when they say goodbye that makes you want to cancel your flight. Even the flight that takes you back to the sunshine.

London may be pretty kak on the surface to some, but its also pretty damn special.

Kim Hawkins_friends
oh you know… just friends for 30 years.

Ps. Wine Bar amazing! Ok, so we spent about R500 on a bottle of wine, but by this point we’d stopped converting. Well, one of us had. And it was a Nebiola. Which is my favourite. Excuses excuses.

Pps. if you look really closely at the dress I’m wearing you’ll notice that it is not, in fact, Christmas trees, but instead, it is panthers. They sorta look like Tyrannosaurus’ too though. Not awkward at all.

Reasons and seasons

This gem of a line, I think first delivered to me after being dumped by a boyfriend in std 8, came to mind today. You know the one, “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” It is usually told to you by someone trying to console you, trying to remind you that everything always works out ok in the end. Often followed by “give it time, time heals” or similar.

The saying goes that when you figure out which it is (a reason, season or a lifetime), you’ll know what to do. But really? Is it as simple as meeting someone (“hey, howz’t”) and then knowing exactly how they going to fit in to your life?
Friends. You meet them along the way, you hit it off, overnight besties sometimes. You think you are inseparable. You in fact are inseparable. And then, the unimaginable. You separate. No one did anything… That you know of. But one moment you’re growing old with someone, and the next, you’re only chatting once every three months, and then less. Your lives take on different directions or courses. There was no hurt, no betrayal to damage it… And when you met, there was no need to be fulfilled. It just was. And then it wasn’t.

Same goes for those ones that do hang around for a lifetime. I’ve been friends with two girls since I was about three (no exaggeration I swear). They are like sisters to me. I wouldn’t say they know everything I’m currently thinking (quite the contrary as they both live in London and as much as Skype, iMessage and whatsapp are great – you don’t tell them when you’ve had a shit day and mostly just tell them about the great weather in Cape Town. They’re weather buddies) – they will always be in my life. They are definitely the lifetime people. But hell, I didn’t know that when I was three. So I certainly didn’t commit to extra hours of playtime on the fort at “happy days”. It just sort of happened. They stuck around. In fact, they’ll still be around when I’m 90.

When I first moved to London, I was great friends with a girl I worked with. We (if the legend is correct) even shopped together – which is fairly unbelievable as I don’t really do the shopping thing, but the fact that I did – and with her, says something about the level of friendship we’re talking about. And then we went our separate ways – both on paths of travel, down an aisle and eventually back to sunny SA where (6 years later) we ran into each other again. This year, I celebrated Christmas at her house – we are those best friends again. What happened in between, or why we took the break we did for the time that we did – noone really knows. We both thought we were the seasonal friend to each other, turns out we’re going to be the lifetime friend.

I was recently asked if I knew it was going to be serious when I met my (now) husband. I really don’t think I knew. I was 19. If I had put him in the lifetime box then… He probably would’ve run a mile. Hell, I would’ve run a mile.

On that note though, it feels that as adults, we feel the need to put every encounter into it’s box. Know before it starts what the meaning of it is. Categorise people as we meet them – are we going to be occasional friends, acquaintances, the create-a-party-friends, the real friends. I realise that in today’s day and age, where time is a scarce commodity and the friendships and relationships that already exist need all the investment we can possibly afford, we like to know exactly where new individuals are going to fit in. Is it worth the extra investment if they’re really not going to hang around? Or if I’m not?

But what if nothing is wrong, there is no need or silent prayer to be answered. No sharing, growing or learning that you’re after. What if, reasons or seasons, just don’t apply to some people. Or worse, what if you commit to believing that someone belongs in a category and it turns out you’re wrong. Is it really as simple as fobbing a situation or friendship off to a category just to make peace with the level of effort you invest in it.

Have I talked in circles? I usually do.

I’d like to reword this saying:

Sometimes people come into your life for a reason, a season, a lifetime… or a combination of the three. Life is fluid, and as you grow the people around you grow too. Some that start out just popping in to answer a question or silent prayer may be the ones that stick around for a lifetime. The ones that have always been there that you commit to growing old with, may be the ones that land up leaving or being left behind.

What remains true is to accept the lesson as it happens, love the person for each role that they play as they play it or continue to play it and put what you learn to use.

Its far less inspirational, yes. But its the truth. You never know what you’re going to get.

Lifetime besties x
Lifetime besties x