Happy New Year, blogosphere! I have my post-holiday apathy under control, and am finally eating food that hasn’t been handed to me by a sixteen-year-old through a drive-thru window. Hooray!
New Year’s Eve was initially a pleasant family bonding evening. Mum, Dad and I checked into our usual low budget hotel, then took some time snapping some photos around Cairns in the late afternoon warmth before enjoying a tasty Asian dinner. We had plans to head down to the Esplanade to catch the 9pm fireworks show, after which Mum and I would make fun of Dad for going to bed early, before heading to bed ourselves about fifteen minutes later.
Somewhere between dinner and fireworks, beer happened to me.
Daybreak on 1st January 2014 found me rolled up like a pickled chrysalis inside a commandeered swag* on a concrete floor in an unfamiliar garage. I woke up to my phone beeping with a ridiculously chirpy text from my mother, full of smiley faces and vaguely sarcastic ‘darling child’s. I discovered I was sharing the cement with an old school friend I hadn’t seen in four years and have never been able to match drink-for-drink, as well as a shirtless fisherman pulling a bong in the corner.
You’d think that at 31 I’d have outgrown this shit, but apparently not. And that’s fine with me.
Around 6.30am my parents decided to head home, minus one absconded daughter (don’t worry, I’d sent Mum a text message at some point during the night indicating I was alive, if not exactly coherent) and on their way out of Cairns they noticed a parked four wheel drive with an obviously misappropriated road sign hanging off the back of it. Dad nearly stopped to take a photo, no doubt to skewer on his blog as an example of NYE idiot shenanigans. Many, many hours later, I turned up at the farm in my school bud’s four wheel drive, bearing a shiny 40km/hr speed sign with which to adorn the verandah. Daddy had never been more proud of me – I could tell by the vein twitching in his forehead.
A trip home to Far North Queensland is always an interesting thought experiment in What The F**k Am I Doing With My Life. 99% of my school friends are married with fulfilling family commitments, mortgages and kitted out camping vehicles. In contrast, I’m bumbling around Melbourne without a home or partner, and nothing that can be classified remotely as a ‘career’or ‘qualifications’ or ‘hobbies’. All of which doesn’t bother me too much in January, but I think I should be making plans now if I’m to look back at 2014 and feel like I’ve accomplished anything. Because so far, all I have is:
1. Theft of council property.
2. Successfully navigating back to Melbourne. Which I suspect had more to do with the pilot.
I just had so much fun last year, and I feel like I want to keep doing that – I mean, what’s life for, if not to enjoy it while we’re here? On the other hand, I’m a grown-ass woman with a strong passion for helping out the underdog, and I’m supposed to be contributing to society in a meaningful, compassionate way by now. Granted it’s possible to have fun and contribute, but the only idea I have is to bang ugly people. And I don’t think that’s a long term career prospect at the moment.
Existential crisis aside, Far North Queensland is a whole lot of love and laughs, and a brilliant way to kick off another year.
*Never, ever confuse an Aussie ‘swag’ with Justin Bieber’s.