Sunday 7 July 2013

Not very grown up

I’m not really very grown up.  Opinions differ as to whether this is a good thing.

For example, I can barely spell the word superannuation.  Save for retirement?  I have a vivid imagination but what does it mean?  I can’t sit still for a day let alone an entire chapter of time. 

At Gatwick airport an ex once happened to comment “don’t worry, that will be covered by your travel insurance”.  “What travel insurance?” I replied.  I won’t bore you with the subsequent exchange but suffice it to say I should have known there and then the relationship would never work.  Not simply because he had travel insurance and I didn’t, but because he was so aghast I would travel without it the judgement which dripped off him was never going to work with a free-spirit. 

I didn’t care if he did or didn’t have travel insurance?  So why was I cast in the role of idiot?  He even said “well don’t expect me to sit by your hospital bed if something happens, as I won’t be covered to extend my journey”.  It was said as a joke, but…

FYI, so my mother doesn’t have a heart-attack, I do take travel insurance when snow-skiing or travelling to the United States.  I don’t want to bleed to death because appendicitis costs the price of a house.  I have some sense of risk.

Anyway it seems I’m not very grown up about stuff like keeping my belongings together.  As long as I can remember something I want is packed in a box elsewhere.  In New Zealand I was often looking for something left in London.  When living in Italy I always wanted a book or a piece of clothing left in Australia.  And now I’m back in London I want one of the many juicers I have in Australia and the Roland keyboard I’ve left in Italy because this damn Casio has stopped working and how can I rehearse without an instrument?  

Again my long-suffering mother has been patient in this regard, storing my ‘junk’, as she calls it, for extended periods over decades.  Rebecca, my sister, complains my piano in the family beach-house at Kiama obstructs the full thrust of her billiard cue (well good for her, because thrust as I might those damn little balls hardly ever go in anyway).   And who would know when the call will come from my patient Italian friends to say they are sick to death of storing my ‘junk’.

I’m not entirely grown up when it comes to dating either.  I regularly date men most consider too young for me.  I figure if they don’t mind why should I?  Makes sense.  And often it’s no problem.  However sometimes things unravel.  I brought my Italian boyfriend to London late 2009.  His only English, typically, consisted of song lyrics or international words like download, computer and internet.  All was going well until I tried to get him interested in going to see Churchill’s bunker on Whitehall.  I simply couldn’t get him to understand that the chief of the Allied forces had operated from there in WWII.  I couldn’t even get him to register knowledge of Winston Churchill.  And why was he talking about Garibaldi?  Was his grasp on history that confused or was my Italian worse than I thought?  I remember walking toward Trafalgar Square thinking “perhaps they don’t teach modern European history in school anymore”?  Then chastising myself with “it really isn’t PC to look down on someone for their lack of knowledge… I mean he doesn’t care that I am university educated”.  It was a great shame that chasm began to open between us, because the Italian Stallion was very well qualified in other respects. 

Generally speaking I’d rather be too “ungrown up” than too “overly grown up”.  I am in no hurry to worry about anything too much in the future.  There’s enough to worry about today.  Moreover if you think old, you dress old and act old. What’s the point of that?  Damn age is going to catch up with you sometime or other, so why rush it? 

Now that’s not to say I don’t like to plan.  It’s just that my planning is usually around creative or adventurous pursuits – getting my books published, getting back to New York and Italy, turning some notes into the play I’ve been wanting to write, getting focused again on my children’s stories, getting my hair done and going on a better date...    

It would seem, compared to others, I don’t focus on planning for practical things like investments, mortgages and business deals.   Well, not unless I’m in a management role and chasing a sponsor or partner for, again, something creative…

I am grown up though, or disciplined, when it comes to sitting down and doing the work.  I’m not a procrastinator.   This is a big help if you are a freelancer and often work from home.   I’m also disciplined with money – not in terms of saving particularly, or chasing the big dollar, but in terms of managing what I have and surviving, sometimes on a shoe-string.  And then I love it when the dollars start coming in again and I can splash it around, take some more adventures, enjoy it with friends…

So thinking that way imagine, from the same budget, how many more air-tickets I have bought over the years to go to interesting places compared to people who always buy travel insurance? 

Hmm, there’s smart and there’s smart.  And I guess it all depends on perspective.

Before moving outdoors to enjoy the glorious summer day that has arrived in London just in time for the Wimbledon final, I will just add that my ironing board is not very grown up.  It is a miniature which has to sit on a table and only really works to iron trousers.  It’s crap for ironing the lovely Laura-Ashleyesque sun-dress I have on today. 

So, when I next get a grown up job and some grown up money, I am going to reward myself with a grown up ironing-board. 

That’s nothing to do with age or maturity.  I just think it’s time.