I was riding the bus when a boy no longer amused with his video game chucked it aside and started digging through a tote. He wailed his displeasure when all he produced was a half eaten pack of crackers and some hand wipes––his digital needs remained unsatisfied.
At his age, my brothers and I were swaddled in fluff and kicked out the back door with nothing but our imaginations, five miles of wilderness, and whatever the cat dropped on the doorstep. Entertainment was entirely dependent on creative cunning. We spent our days galloping through the underbrush, building mud mansions and catching salamanders to live inside them. We once amused ourselves for three days straight just digging a big hole.
At at what point along the way did we stop being comfortable inside our own heads? In the digital age, people have become too impatient to actually sit back, relax, and enjoy the solitude of an uncharted moment.
Today, immediacy rules every sphere of human interaction. We want to know it, we want to know it now, and we want to move on. The world is at our fingertips every second of every day and as a result, some of the greatest opportunities to commune with a moment pass by unappreciated.
It’s convenient to wake up and check my emails, text, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Facebook all before getting out of bed, but sometimes I need to leave the smartphone at home and reconnect with raw reality––the kind you can see, smell, taste, touch and love.
Twenty seven years old. I have written it the long way, because it takes the visual impact of each syllable to fully appreciate the longevity of the age. As anyone who has made it past a quarter of a century knows, the birthdays flit past with less ceremony and twice as much reflection.
With each year gone by, the line between retrospect and regret is increaslngly more defined and I find myself in a state of naked awareness. Everyone has moments from their past they would like to forget, but there is no greater lesson than failure.
For me, this is not a time to agonize over the cliff not scaled or the half baked cake. It’s a time to bask in the honesty of my darkest moments and gain a more realistic sense of self.
Reviewing the frenzied scribbles of my journal, I find it littered with comments like “future Jessica slaps you here” or “indoor scooter-ball will never be a good idea”. Looking back, these are the notations I value most.
Where would I be if I didn’t take something away from a good crash and burn? Surprisingly, dead baby jokes are never the way to go on a first date, although terribly effective screening. Lately, I prefer confronting animal memes.
Present Jessica knows now that drunken sledding is only ok if your not tied to the dog. Careening down a hill, one boisterous beagle fails to appreciate that zig zags are not a part of the plan. You live, you learn…and then you unhook the leash.
Most importantly, moving forward in age is not a departure from the frolicsome abandon of youth, but an incorporation of it. The stark optimism of a 5 year old, the deviant curiosity of age 10 and the foresight of 27 rolled into one.
May yesterdays floor-cookies bake me a brighter tomorrow!
Leafing through my tattered, coffee and God knows what-smeared journal, I communed with the tornado of decisions that led me to this moment. Career, family, friends, future. Everyone has a plan, but you can’t anticipate the uncharted.
If someone had told me 2 years ago that I would be living in Australia today, I would have said, crackerjacks! No way. It seems like a lifetime ago that a tapestry of coincidental fragments conspired to bring me to Boston’s International Airport with all of my worldly possessions.
I can’t say that it was any one detail that inspired me to abandoned a wonderful and supporting family, stable job, and devoted network of friends for a foreign country. I do know however, that I found the idea intoxicating.
The day I left, so many questions were bouncing around in my head, but only one certainty. I’d never felt more alive. To me, moving 10 thousand miles to the other side of the planet was a delicious challenge. I had something exceptional to prove, I just didn’t know what.
The people I have met, the knowledge I have gained, and the sublime ubiquity of total independence has taught me that the most terrifying thing about life is the thing you didn’t do. It swallows you whole; a looming nightmare of potentiality.
Settled in Sydney after well over a year, I thrive on a diet of comedy and common sense. Cultivating a clarified identity, the purpose of this blog is to record every current of excitement, every epic fail; all things strange and all things beautiful.
We rose at 4am after a long night of camp fire stories and card games to stumble our way to the cliffs edge just as dawn was breaking. Moments like this make all the tired little somethings melt into nothing and all the little nothings come together to mean the world.