I’m growing older with each passing second. We all are, of course. I’ll be a few seconds senior by the time I finish this sentence. I’ve got no home of racing Father Time, but this is really just a tangent from my through line of action. I had a minor revelatory moment while sitting in the throne of summer, that I’ve begun to age at a rate I thought impossible. Rather than physical deterioration, it’s a factor I have some modicum of control over. Man child as I am, I’m getting boring and sedentary. Here I was, lying on my towel while our group’s resident 4 year old wanted to play construction. He had a little tractor and demanded I helped out to bulldoze the future train station he was building. The largest part of me couldn’t be bothered, but it was hard to say no to a child’s ardent enthusiasm. I played along, dozing the sand into flat partitions he could then carve grooves into, but it felt half-hearted. Where has the joy of play gone? What is it that pulled me back from giving myself to the scenario?
If you’ve read any of my writing, you know there’s no chance that I’m too cool for something of this scale, so why couldn’t I jump in with both feet? We spent hours on the beach and aside from dancing, I found myself hesitant to actively engage in anything around me. I sat, observed and quietly kept to myself. Huge bubbles were to my right, aerial hoop lessons in front of me. There were friendly people everywhere to meet and chat with, water to splash and play in, a stack o’ hammocks, but I felt mildly paralysed by indecision and worry about doing something wrong. Is this a fear of failure? The perception of others? Why remain quiet and reserved when I could instead put myself out there and find the people who liked what I put out? It’s a trend of introversion I’ve found myself afflicted with over the past few months, like I’ve locked into a mindset that tells me not to push things, to turtle up and dip in toes rather than run and jump.
It doesn’t feel like me and I want to swing the pendulum back. I’m getting bored of who I’m becoming and I want to switch it up. I want to yes… and, to take on things I’m scared of and find out where exactly my limits lie. I rarely feared being ostracised when I was younger, why am I now skewing so conservative? Why care what others think when I’m crumbling my self-estimation instead? I hate how I seem to talk to people these days. I used to be inquisitive, curious, interested and invested. Now I feel safe, bland, insipid. There are infinite things to do and I’m increasingly finding excuses not to. Why? So I can be comfortable and boring? To limit my exposure to growth? That doesn’t sound like the person I’ve ever wanted to be. How do I curb it?
It’s no exaggeration that I’ve slipped away since I stopped drinking. For years it’s been a magical tonic that I’ve relied on to pique my fascination and extroversion. I don’t like that reliance, but without my crutch it’s been really hard to keep putting myself out there. I get tentative about surrounding myself with liquored merriment, which cuts out a huge amount of engagements. When I become used to quiet lulls, something in me sees that as the status quo and seeks to retain it. Things that don’t involve liquor still seem to evoke the same heightened state of excitement and that same brain compartment tosses it in the stack of things to avoid. It sucks and I’m hoping that when I get back to booze (less than a week) I can moderate my consumption while still upping my engagement. Because the myriad of activities I haven’t tried will surely hold a thing or two that ignite my passions. How do I know I’m not secretly a line dancing fiend just waiting to do-si-do my days away? I could be a master potter in the making or a rebel with an oar. I haven’t discovered a new band in yonks, where did that passion go? Remember when my weeks were crammed full with gigs and gig reviews? Now I’m down to around one review a week. At a time when you almost need to go out of your way to avoid events, why am I diverting my route? When did the effort of trying things become a roadblock? Is this really who I want to be by the time I’m 30? If the universe asks me to play, why the fuck would I say no?