Friday, 5 December 2008

Memory and perception of time/age are funny things. My memory isn't what it was, thanks to the medication I'm on, but some moments from my teens (both meaningful ones and thoroughly dull ones) seem as though they were only a few months ago. It's hard to believe that they are over a decade in the past, that I'm thirty now.

Books often portray children and teenagers as thinking that anyone over about thirty is "old." I never really understood this, even when I was a kid. Did other people think that as children, or is it just a lazy-grownup-author assumption? Yet now I see groups of teenagers trying to look tough and scary and they seem like little kids, even though they're all twice my height...

I don't know if it's because they are closer in age to my daughter (and my washing machine) than to me, but I just want to tell the groups of girls cackling at the backs of buses to sit down, shut up, and get on with their homework. Perhaps this is the solution to the 'hoodie' problem - stop taking them so seriously, walk past these groups with a cheery "Morning boys!"

My memory-filing years seem to follow the academic/Jewish year more closely than the Gregorian calendar, probably because my birthday's in the autumn. September 1997 to about November 1998 is one segment, then December '98 till October 1999 is another. They were both pretty dramatic years. The first took me from nearly-19-never-been-kissed to reluctantly moving back to London and getting a job in a Bingo Hall via making friends at university, snogging half my male housemates, spectacularly fvcking up academically thanks to the ADD which wasn't diagnosed for another 8 years, having a bit of a nervous breakdown, trying antidepressants for the first time, having a terrifying experience after taking one dose of the third one I tried (including what I'm fairly sure was a miscarriage), my first boyfriend, an eight week intensive Welsh course and the disastrous return to Aberystwyth.

The second began with the new job and ended with having my daughter a week before I turned 21, via lots of boring work, living in a pub, living on the floor of the 'shop' at my mum's place (now semi-converted into residential space), two brief hospitalisations, and being moved into a horrible B&B by the nice housing man so we would have enough points for a flat, which luckily worked, and we got the flat three weeks before I had to go for a caesarean.

In some ways, both seem a lot less than ten years ago, but in other ways it's hard to believe they are actually adjacent. My mind seems to have inserted a few extra carriage returns between the two, though it mostly tries to block out most of October/November 1998, probably because I was having a fairly horrendous time, having screaming fits and so on. I was fairly incoherent, I suspect, alienating the people I lived with and trying desperately to find a way out of the situation that didn't involve actually going back to London.

I expect this should have some sort of terribly well thought-out conclusion, but I can't think very well these days, so instead I shall just stop.