I have days when I wonder if I should have had my children earlier. These days usually happen when I am tired, depressed by the sight of another grey hair, and coming to terms with the fact that I will never understand the Justin Bieber phenomenon.
Then there are the days when I actually sit down and remember my twenties. The time I spent working on magazines such as Vogue Australia and CLEO. And the several years I spent based in London, working at Homes & Gardens magazine, and squeezing in as much travelling time as possible.
I had a flurry of those days this weekend when The Builder and I welcomed one of his Dutch relatives into the Fibro. K is 20 years old, spending six months in Australia, and deciding which university course he will take up when he gets back home. Remember those days?
It was a joy to have him here. An excuse for The Builder (who, in true Australian fashion, left home one year in his twenties and came back five years later) and I to relive our travels. To talk about London and Amsterdam and Berlin and Prague. To warn K about the dangers of Full Moon Parties in Thailand – and then suggest that if he must go (and, really, what 20-year-old boy thinks he shouldn’t?) to be very, very careful – and not tell his Mum until after it’s all over.
We talked about our worst experiences in backpacker hostels (The Builder always wins these contests). I remembered, though did not share, the time a man pulled a gun out at a campfire at Anzac Cove (he fired it into the air, looked around wildly, and disappeared… what a shame). We both agreed that we did not appreciate the amazing places we went and the incredible sights we saw until it was all much, much too late.
K’s eyes were probably glazed over at this stage, watching us relive our Glory Days (which occurred approximately as he was being born). But he is very polite and pretended to listen. Fortunately, I managed to withhold the story about the time I went to Scotland with a group of girlfriends and we spent much time and energy searching for the Mull Of Kintyre, simply so we could sit on a rock and sing the song. I’m thinking he probably wouldn’t have appreciated that one. At all.
But now that it’s front of mind, I’m sure it will give me the wings (sorry) to get me through my next Way-Too-Old Mum day. I might even teach the boys the song, just to be sure.
Did you spend your 20s with a backpack? Do the memories keep you sane on bad days?