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.

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The Big Overhaul

I’m overhauling my blog. By overhaul, I actually just mean I’m applying a new theme. I haven’t selected it yet, but its coming. And thankfully, it won’t be pink. I actually don’t even like pink. Although you’d never have guessed would you?

I’ll also be rewriting my ‘about’ section. Because lets be honest, its outdated and all kinds of wrong. 

You see, after I got married and moved back to Cape Town, I was all about the happy fun things. You know, the early days of marriage – where there were no life plans and nothing really counted. I was just thrilled to be back in the sunshine and close to friends and family again. In fact, marriage had little to do with “Becoming Mrs H” the blog. Becoming Mrs H was more just an excuse to drink, socialise, visit places and eat great food. 

5 years later, I’m still happy to be home. Cape Town still thrills me. But, the path of actually becoming mrs h, has taken on some bumpy and unexpected turns. (Now that we’re all sober and full of the food I mean.) 

It is still a journey, and I’m still on it. And while (mostly) I want to run away, and often I do, I’m growing up. And so is this blog – and blogging for me.

There have been some trying times, of which no one understands. Maybe because I don’t talk about it. Maybe because when I have, people gloss over. Maybe because I don’t think anyone cares enough to care. The truth is – if I’ve learnt one thing about life – there are a lot of us here doing this. And no experience or feeling is completely unique to ourselves. Even though we think it is. 

So I write. I write the shit in my head down. The shit I’m too afraid to say out loud. And maybe someone reads it and says ‘ah! I know that feeling’. And maybe they won’t feel as lonely as I have. And maybe noone reads it. But thats ok too – because I’m blogging for me anyway. 

And now and again I may still eat great food and have some awesome wine, or visit a nice hotel or go on an awesome holiday. And I’ll write that shit down too. Because everyone needs to be able to take a break from their life from time to time.

Its not running away. Its just breathing.

Footnotes for a post about Stellenbosch days

Notes for the English speakers / non stellies students

1. Skakeling: during initiation week, meetings between residences are set up. The boys and the girls from each res get to meet in a (somewhat) controlled environment run by the (far more mature?) third and fourth year HK’s. It usually involved some activity. Weirdly there were no skakelings between two female res’. I can only conclude that they were trying to promote friendships within your own res, and hooking up with boys. What else is first year for.

2. HK (as used above): Huis Komitee. House Comitee. A bunch of seniors (who actually aren’t very senior in reality) who were probably prefects at school or weren’t, and are now living the prefect dream. Telling the juniors to get in line etc. They probably did other stuff too – I’m not sure. I wasn’t a prefect. Or a HK.

3. Deurwag. I had to go crowdsourcing to my old SONOP girls to remember this word. Its basically the doorman – if you’re going to directly translate it. But for any girls’ res attendee – its soo much more than that. That man, at the end of your night who lets you in -he can be your lifesaver. Mostly he was afrikaans, and from Eendrag and studying Engineering – because man, those guys don’t have a life and need to study all the time. They are generally unimpressed by you, your drunkenness, or the fact that your ATM card isn’t able to let you in to the building. “What does ‘U is onbekend’ mean mr Deurwag?”

4. The neelsie. Once containing a club, a 7 eleven, and a Van Schayk bookshop all under one roof. It was the central meeting place before, during and after classes. It often meant that you never attended class at all.

5. Blue Rooster. The blue rooster that sits on top of Helshoogte (not exactly cryptic)

6. Sonop: previously Hombre boys residence, we shared the res in our first year with the guys (not as fun as it sounds) – only the eetsaal was shared. And kicked them out in second year. They were not impressed and pissed all over our res. I can understand why. As far as I know, Hombre has ceased to exist.

7. EetSaal: Eating Hall. Not often attended by us. Except for HK (see above) meetings. Booking ahead for meals was challenging. Much easier to make smoked chicken salad in your room