A few weeks ago, Joel was mimicking a guitar riff that my inner mid-90’s angsty teenager gland instantly picked up – Zero. And that spurred an instant Smashing Pumpkins sing a-long ROCK A-LONG, and then I found myself listening to all their albums on Spotify as I cleaned house.
It made me think, though. I was 12 when I “borrowed” Siamese Dream from my brother Shayne (I still have it, beeteedubs),and 13 when I asked my dad to get me Meloncollie and the Infinite Sadness. I was on the too-young-to-be-angsty side of the scale during the hey day of The Smashing Pumpkins, and here’s baby Joel, who probably was in his Teletubbies or Bananas in Pajamas phase during said hey day. And yet, here we were – singing along rocking out to Bullet with Butterfly Wings and getting all wistful to Thirty-Three and 1979.
It also made me think, what’s Billy Corgan up to lately?
Because the last time I checked, he looked like this:
and then this:
But this is him now:
Holy dad bod, Billy.
Finally, it made me think, fuck I’m old*.
And then I thought of perspective – image how my parents felt when I was 10 and knew every word to The Doors Greatest Hits. And then I thought of another 90’s gem that I was too young to be included in the demographic for:
Oh hey, Clueless is 21 years old. Jesus.**
*No surprise there – everything makes me feel old now. I didn’t realise that one the scariest parts of being in my 30’s is that everything I enjoyed as a kid now has antique status.
I was raised by parents who were both voracious readers and avid book collectors (ask any of my friends about the antique libraries that were all over the house while I was growing up), and both habits have rubbed off on me. When I was a kid, half of my bed was always covered in books and comic collections, and as I grew up, they migrated to my night stand, in my purse, littering my car. I was always there when Reading Rainbow or Wishbone aired. But I wouldn’t call myself a book worm. In spite of a very short attention span that makes it hard for me to read quickly – I’m constantly re-reading because I find myself having read 3 pages with no idea what I just read – I just really love books.
Books have been a security blanket for really my whole life. When I was scared of falling asleep, or woke up from a nightmare, I would read until I passed out. I carried books around with me as an adult so I wouldn’t have to interact with people (oh yeah, totally before smart phones), or so I could fish for cool people (most of the friends I made in college I made because they commented on the book I was reading and we started a conversation from there). When I went through periods of depression, I tore through books – anything for a distraction. I’ve always felt better with books around, even if I haven’t read them. And picking and choosing a select handful of my books to bring with me to Sydney was heart wrenching.
Like basically everything else in my life, reading books fell by the way side this year, and all I’ve really read this year has been online magazine articles, blogs, or cheap, easy reads on Kindle. But I’m slowly getting back on that physical-hold-in-your-hand-book horse. For the past few weekends, I’ve been carving out time just for reading, and I really love it. Like, it kinda makes me miss being a depressed teenager with no social life who had nothing but time to sit in her room all day reading and watching movies. So I’ve been wrapping myself up in a blanket in bed on Sundays to read, and it’s basically been the best thing ever.
So, reading = awesome. Making time to read = more awesome. Time spent reading instead of watching the same shitty TV shows over and over while scrolling through the same Instagram feeds is making me feel less like a boiled sponge and more like a pre-packaged, new in the wrapper sponge. It’s taking irritatingly slow baby steps, but I’m slowly starting to feel like a real person again.
Coinciding with this newly rekindled love of reading, I found out this week that Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, Here I Am, was released. Now, I love Jonathan Safran Foer. I bought Everything is Illuminated on a whim before I left for college back in the day, and it knocked my socks off. He’s brilliant at blending humor, heart break, and inventive language and formatting, and I’ve read everything he’s published. Shit, I’d read his grocery lists. So even though I have about 5 books I need to read, as well as being 1/3 of the way through a House of Leaves re-read, I decided to go out and actually buy the book – which kinda felt like a Big Deal because I’ve only bought books for other people in the last couple of years (I’ve fallen prey to the Kindle side, and yes I hate me too). So off to the haunts of my youth – ye olde book shoppe.
If I love books, then I’m obsessed with book stores. New books or used books, it doesn’t matter, books stores are my kryptonite. I love the smell, I love the book cases stacked from floor to ceiling, and I love that indescribable feeling you get while walking around – a mix between anticipation, gloriously overwhelmed, and I WANT EVERYTHING LET ME READ IT ALL. I worked at a few book stores in my retail days, and my book collection exploded and my savings account – well, that never happened.
Lucky for me, about 15 minutes away from us in ANY direction, there’s a book store. And after 10 minutes of walking through the first shop, I realised I had $160 worth of books in my hands. Annnd that’s not exactly budget friendly at the moment. So I reigned it in (despairingly, I might add), and left with my new Safran Foer, some coffee and a cupcake (you can’t call a chocolate cheese cake muffin a muffin – com on). I sat outside in the chilly rain under a slightly leaky umbrella and read for about an hour. It was glorious.
Today was perfect. All I could think was, this is what I want to do every day. Drink coffee and read. And eat delicious pastries. I mean, if it could be chilly and rainy forever that’d be tops, too. When I’m reading constantly, I feel like a better person. And I definitely write better the more I read. So it’s all around a win.
Also, that deserved smugness you get when you read the book before the movie/TV show/Netflix series comes out – priceless.
What’s everyone reading these days? How are you making time to read?
ps. One moreReading Rainbow nod, because this is hilarious
So, not only is it September, it’s almost half way through September. I mean, I know time flies once you get older and you’re too busy focusing on how broke you are or how many over time hours you’re working or how many hangovers you get, but this year really has completed at break-neck speed. Not once, even in the worst moments, have I felt any day just draaaag, not once have I looked at the calendar and think “but whhhhy isn’t this month over yet?” I mean, seriously.
Speaking of time flying, I’m currently sitting outside in shorts and a t-shirt. Which means we’ve made it through yet another season.
I love these trans-seasonal days. I like waking up and it’s cold enough to wear a jacket, and by lunch time it’s warm enough to sit outside and eat lunch – but not come back a sweaty mess, and when the sun goes down, it’s back to jacket weather. It’s spring time, and has been since September 1, and that means before I know it I’ll be waking up in the jungle heat, taking two showers a day, and checking for Huntsmen before I put my shoes on or use the toilet. #australia
And the low to zero humidity renews all sense of hope and purpose in life and makes me think anything is possible – like, I’M GOING TO START WALKING TO WORK EVERY DAY! I’M GOING TO THE BEACH EVERY WEEKEND! I’M GOING TO GROW A GARDEN! WE WILL EAT OUTSIDE ALL THE TIME! HAPPY HOUR IN THE SUN! And then the real summer weather kicks in and I’m all “yeah I’ll be in front of the fan covered in frozen wash clothes and hoping for swift death.”
But for now, it’s nice.
It’s great to feel a rush of inspiration, as it’s been a bit meh around here for the past few weeks. There have been long days/nights at work and cleaning house and making dinner and making pies and going to the pub and shopping for groceries and watching Breaking Bad at the end of the day and trying to get back on track with life.
I mean, these days aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. There’s just not a lot of breaking news. These days are like mayonnaise. Not exciting, but not awful. The mayonnaise days. And while there’s little things here and there I wanted to mention in a blog, nothing seemed to materialise, because the mayonnaise days also mean I have the physical endurance of a jar of mayo. But in retrospect, it’s been nice to have some days without a lot of noise – emotional or otherwise.
I’ve started seeing a new counsellor who seems to be a better fit and is more affordable. I’m not in a particularly bad way anymore, but I want to keep up the maintenance, as it were. Joel’s working hard and making plans for his business, and in the mean time is taking some amazing photos. Our biological clocks are barking – we need a dog friend, and soon. I’m planning to revamp our “study” area so it’s better organised and has more storage space. This includes a trip to Ikea, which we all know gives me all the excitement. The sunsets are amazing. And I’m thinking about making my Goals for Summer List, but I’m also thinking about not making a Goals for Summer List, because lately whenever I make a list of things to do, it ends up being a list of shit that never gets done. We’ll see.
Let’s check out some pics!
Cheers, everyone – to the start of a new season.
And to hopefully getting my shit together before January. And hopefully January doesn’t show up, like tomorrow.
Happy anniversary, Sydney! It feels like just a few days ago we were toasting to my first year here, so it’s hard to believe we are now on year two.
And what a year it’s been – we moved into our fantabulous new place, we both started new jobs, Joel’s business grew, and I was granted my visa (and Medicare wheeee) leaving less than a year until I’m a permanent resident (fingers crossed!). It’s been a year of change and adjustment, of little adventures, incredible meals, hella laughs, long talks and big plans.
However, I struggled with (more like collapsed under the weight of) personal issues this past year, and that was a huge set back. But facing them was a huge step forward. And slowly but surely, (and with lots of help), it’s getting better. And I still miss my family and friends in the States more than I could ever convey (Thank God for video chats). And starting new jobs and moving meant that more than a few times we scraped coins together to buy a frozen $5 pizza for dinner. #adulting
Even so, I still wake up every morning happy to be where I am. I still think to myself that I’m so damn lucky to be here. I look at Joel and I know – this is where I need to be. The trip I couldn’t afford to take became the trip that changed my life. The most reckless financial decision I ever made became the best decision I ever made.
Thanks for everything, Sydney. In the bright, times, and in the dark times, I’m so happy to call you home. Xo