You know when you see acquaintances on Facebook posting pictures of grand family adventures, babies strapped snugly to Daddy’s chest as they watch sunsets in far-flung places? You know when you hear about families selling their possessions and taking off for a year on the road in some gorgeous tricked-out camper van? You know when you watch your co-worker quit her job, sublet her apartment and squat on an island, where the sand and ocean are absurdly gorgeous, just to find herself?
For a split second, I envy those people so hard my fingernails turn green. Where’s MY adventure? Where’s MY destiny? Why can’t I be there, doing that, flying by the seat of my discount Old Navy jeans?
Then I remember. I WOULD HATE ALL OF IT.
If I was thrust into a wide world of adventure, my first instinct would be: Jesus Christ, is there a bathroom where I can take out my contacts? (You can probably guess I’m a terrible camper.)
Even though it feels weirdly embarrassing to admit, I REVEL in all of my life’s banal moments.
Routine and normality are fucking CATNIP to me. Here’s a sampling of things that make me happy as hell:
- Setting out my clothes for the next day the night before
- Remembering to apply sunscreen every day
- Having too much toilet paper to fit under the sink
- Starting a load of laundry, folding it and putting it all away immediately
- Eating mildly expired leftovers so that I don’t have to throw them away
- Being early for everything
- Over-delivering for a task I’ve taken on
- Using chip clips on every opened package of food
- Doing the dishes each night so the sink is empty in the morning
- Wearing weather-appropriate footwear
- Going to bed early and gleefully calculating how much more rested I will be the next day
- Shopping early for Christmas
- Having a healthy gluten-free snack, band-aids, tissue, mints and lip gloss in my bag at all times
I don’t do these things because I have extra time or energy. With a full-time day job, a kid, a husband, friends and a busy freelance business on the side, I don’t sleep much. I end most nights slumped over the sink, swirling suds into sticky pots from dinner. I’d rather be asleep but the scratch must be itched.
How did I grow up to crave the life of June Cleaver?
One of the few cool things about growing up and growing old is that your introspectiveness gets sharper. I can feel something, take that feeling apart in my hands, and dissect it to find out why I feel that way. I’m a feelings mechanic, with cleaner fingernails.
I grew up in a loving home, with a single Mom who spent most of her pay cheques on my Guess jeans and my brother’s Transformers. She was a fun Mom, easy with rules and routines because she trusted us and found them boring. I spent most of my teen years with Sony headphones fused to my ears, listening to the dangerous and angry words spat out by young feminist rockers, kicking down doors one chord at a time.
You would think that an upbringing like that would result in a more interesting adult.
But if I woke up tomorrow, suddenly on a bluff overlooking an insane beach and blindingly beautiful sunset, my first thought wouldn’t be “What a time to be alive, inhaling this perfect salty air and reveling in the Mother Nature’s colour pallet.”
NOPE. It would be, “Great, I have no sunscreen so I’m going to spend the next week sizzling and peeling; this sun is shriveling my corneas into tiny raisins; and I can already feel the sand in my butthole.”
Maybe the occasional flash of desire for a more reckless life is just my brain being embarrassed at how much it loves the smell of dryer sheets or the orgasmic sight of an empty laundry hamper?
Another upside of aging is that the fucks you give molt and fall off. I have come to be content with my ho-hum. The road less travelled is probably super hilly and filled with swarms of those tiny biting bugs anyways.
To be clear, I’m not all beige. I express myself creatively in smaller, less risky ways. I dress like I’m still 19 and I write bawdy stories about my vagina. I went on stage and read an essay about poop to 300 people.
Living colourfully doesn’t have to be strenuous.
As I curl up each night in the familiar caress of my bed, on top of tightly tucked sheets (another boring exhilaration), I’ll just have to dream up some adventure that I can escape from when the soothing sounds of my alarm clock wake me to start another perfectly perfect boring day in my life.