25.5

About two weeks ago I hit the middle of being 25. Now I’m heading towards my late 20’s pretty quickly, and I’m okay with that. Because I’m all about knowledge, and I’ve learnt a lot. This post has been a long time coming, these lessons have been a long time in their making, but now I can make them facts.

I have concluded that peanut butter is one of the best things ever and gherkins can bring about world peace. Sushi is still one of the tastiest things I can put into my body and curry fixes everything. Getting free stuff will always be cool, even if the ‘gift’ has no logical use, finding an alternative stimulates creativity. Music is still a sanctuary and reading is a neglected love and not by choice. Red wine goes with just about everything, but nothing beats a beer on a Friday night. Shooters are no longer as interesting as they were, and I would rather have a Red Bull when I want a buzz. I am too old for clubbing and I like to be in bed before 23:00.

How is it possible for something to be this good?

I now know that relationships will end, and sometimes you really can’t work it out and should stop trying. It hurts, but that’s alright. Because even pain goes away eventually. And the lingering heartache is just because good memories cancel out the bad ones. Moving on is not terrifying and the alternative to happily ever after is not that bad.

Working from 8 to 5 (on a good day) is what happens in the real world, and it’s not the worst way to spend time. Stress happens, but so does shit and there is no getting away from either. There are worse places to be than the office on a Sunday – I could be unemployed.

The truth - it hurts

Having friends, really good friends, is a blessing. 95% of people will misunderstand me and I don’t like the way 95% of people do things. But those are my problems and I am not theirs. But those who care about me, those who really care about me, help me take on my problems, and I am happy to help them with theirs. I will never underestimate an ear to whine into, a shoulder to cry on and a hug from someone who at that moment (and probably most of the time) has more inner strength than I do.

Breaking down is okay – I am not a fortress. Being made out of stone is unhealthy and dysfunctional. I am by no means a fully functional human being, but maybe one day when I grow up I will be. I will make mistakes, but they are only mistakes if I don’t learn from them.

There is great beauty in the world. And it’s worth pausing for. There are moments of such inescapable beauty that will happen and when they do, it’s okay to cry.

One perfect moment out of many

My horse, Ashgar Leam, is my rock. He’s frightfully handsome and is my soul mate. Our relationship is one of complete trust, thorough understanding and deep love. We were made for each other and get each other so completely I will not even try to explain, because there aren’t words and I don’t care if you don’t get it. I do and he does and that’s enough. Nothing else in this world matters as much as his four legs, his brown eyes and everything else that makes him horse.

This is what real love looks like

Strangers are best avoided, but when necessary there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of their kindness. I have been saved from disaster several times in the past six months by people I will never see again.

Living in the millennium is not an excuse to neglect the past. Good books were written before 2000. Amazing music was produced before Britney Spears and filling my collection with ‘classics’ is a worthy investment. Just because it’s not a best seller does not mean it should be passed over.

Too classic - too awesome

I’m still grappling with this one – but I should never be near my phone when I’ve been drinking. I do dumb things, I say things I never would to people I probably shouldn’t. This hasn’t led to any serious disasters, but things can’t be recalled once they have been sent into the universe via technology.

Moments of immaturity are fine. Silly things should be laughed at. Stupid people should be mocked (in private). Using the language of teenagers colours dialogue – as long as punctuation is still a priority.

Amazing people should be recognized and learnt from. Getting over my own ego has been tough; sadly I am not that smart (yet). Industry leaders in whatever field are wonderful to talk to.

Doing stuff alone is empowering. I crave time on my own and I am now happy to go to function without a plus one or colleague. I will go out and meet new people and if we never cross paths again I still had a few hours to enjoy their company and learn.

alone does not equate sad! This is not what alone looks like!

The past can’t ever be changed. Letting go of guilt is a challenge. Ultimately there are two choices in life, rolling over in submission or standing up, finding balance and taking on the next hurdle. Taking some time to gather your strength is advisable and then fully forward, because reverse is a gear you should only use when driving. Bring it!

Yeah!

And bring on the next five months, bring on 26 – I can’t wait for what will happen next.

Before I forget – I would like to add that I like steak. Steak is awesome. It’s good knowing A-grade meat is out there.

And one day I’ll get over saying AWESOME all the time.

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25.5

A Night in the ‘Burg

I went out of town this weekend. Not too far out, but it felt like another planet.

The town of my destination: Boksburg

I used to party in the East Rand a lot. But it was a long time ago and I have vague memories of those times because I was constantly drunk. That was seven years ago. Not much has changed: they still know how to put away a few out there. The only difference is that I’m not so good at that anymore.

But I wanted to spend time with Mad Laura and I promised I would, so I trekked through the maze that is the Gauteng highway system on a rainy Saturday. Laura is awesome, her family rock and meeting them and the usual small talk was very pleasant. But I wasn’t there to bond with her family, I was there to party. And Laura, freshly single, was up for it too.

Being close to the airport, you are allowed to start drinking at any time, because the Boeings do their thing all day long. And you can’t really be uncertain about it because they come in so low, tall people can touch them. But Laura at least works in Johannesburg so she can wait until the sun sets.

The venue of our night out: Cool Runnings, right on the border or Benoni and Boksburg, so I was deep in the East.

This branch was hosting some Afrikaans band. The direct translation is either ‘Sun Stroke’ or ‘Sun Shag’. So it was packed. Laura did an amazing parking manouver (confirmed: some women can park) and we battled our way in to find a table. But it was a rugby night too, so there was no space anywhere. Eventually we found a counter that was available and sat on that. Savage: but when in Rome and all of that.

And just like back in the day, there were young things everywhere, drinking heavily. They are even younger now. I know that some of the kids I saw were only about 14. But no one asks for ID in the East. And no one stops you from smoking inside the building either.

At some point someone brought me a shooter that was disgusting, strong and a major contributer to today’s hangover. A bit later there was tequila. At that point I was flirting with a young thing and he gave me advice on how to take it. In what universe does a 21 year old know more about drinking tequila than retired pro? In the freaking East Rand is where.

I lost interest in Jail Bait shortly after. At 21, men are still very silly and have no idea how to work a woman. But I guess men are actually really silly and have no idea how to work a woman. But to all the boys out there, if you are lucky enough to have a woman pay attention to you, don’t tell her about all the numbers you collected so far that week. And if you’re lucky enough to have a shot with an older woman, don’t tell her how to drink tequila.

I got pretty hammered and I did have fun. I’ve been invited back – but I’ll have to get over this tour first.

While driving back to civilisation I couldn’t help notice how the East Rand feels a lot like Free State towns. Advertising consists of notices on shop windows and company names painted on walls. There are no billboards, and if I wasn’t enjoying my Billy Idol CD so much, I probably would have found that there is no radio either. It even looks a lot like a Free State town. Until you get to the mall. That looks urban. The East Rand does not have many trees.  The ones that stand around look too deliberate and awkward. There are a lot of 4×4’s, but unlike those in Sandton, these look like they have been used. And I saw Toyota Hilux’s, the signature car of the Free State – so for a moment I felt confused because I could have been driving through Frankfort.

I was delighted to see the Bingo hall is still in business. And all of a sudden I was in familiar territory and felt nostalgic until I remembered my head hurt. The clubs are still in the same places, the businesses haven’t moved. It looks exactly the way it did in 2003. And that’s how life moves in the East. You club as a youngster and play Bingo when you age. Oh yeah, they know how to live it up back there.

It’s good to be back in the city.

A Night in the ‘Burg