I woke up this morning in the same fashion that I have been waking up for the last two weeks. Not by sneezing straight up into the air, fortunately (though the colder months do sometimes lead me to wake myself up in this charming sneeze-shower fashion). This morning, just as I have every day since December 1, I woke up with a shocking question echoing through my empty (and often hungover, thanks to the Silly Season) brain.
How the fuck is it December?
Does anyone else feel like they blinked and this year went past? Some of the weeks got ripped off the calendar, surely. Yesterday it was August, when I was whinging about the cold weather (and sneeze-shower wake-up calls). The day before that was April, when I was ‘preparing’ for the coming winter by eating twice as much, in the manner of a bear preparing to hibernate (note that I will use absolutely any excuse to eat extra food, including ‘phantom pregnancy’, ‘acting exercise’, ‘starving children in Africa’, ‘because I felt like it’ and ‘it looked delicious’). Two weeks ago, I woke up, looked at my diary, and suddenly realised it was December, with Christmas shit everywhere and social drinking events increasing by 200%.
I love Christmas, I’m just not ready for it to be here yet. Not least because I now fear that I will go to sleep on Christmas night and when I wake up it will already be the middle of 2014. I’m not done with this year yet – I haven’t even made my New Year’s resolutions for 2013. I definitely haven’t done my Christmas shopping, and I am shocked by the people who had that sorted months ago (really, stop showing the rest of us up, would ya?).
I remember saying to Mum once, “By golly gosh mumsy, I can’t believe how fast Year Seven has gone!” (In my memories, I like to pretend my youth was like an episode of The Brady Bunch and I was Cindy... but really I was more like Milhouse from The Simpsons). Mum’s response was one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard – scary because it’s turned out to be so damn true. She looked into my twelve-year-old eyes (magnified by thick Milhouse-style frames) and said, “it only gets faster from here, Luce”. And holy frigging hell, was she right.
I apparently slept through Years Nine to Eleven, because I don’t remember them much. Uni was done and dusted before I’d bought the right text books (although I did a degree in Music Theatre, so by ‘text books’, I mean ‘glitter-covered spankies’). Everything since has disappeared in a matter of naps and TV dinners. My friends keep getting engaged and mortgaged. Some of them are even having kids. I’m so behind my responsibility bell curve, I’m still yet to figure out that ‘tax deductible’ does not mean ‘free’. I’m still trying to understand that Mars Bars are not a breakfast food. I still get excited to find myself out on a school night, which should not be surprising to myself after so many years of funemployment*. I still get excited that I’m allowed to decide if I want McDonalds for dinner. Being a ‘grown-up’ is awesome... but how the hell did it happen so fast?
In my busier months (when I have MORE THAN ONE THING TO ACCOMPLISH PER DAY - it’s a frightening feeling to lushes like me), I have to turn down various opportunities with the phrase “I don’t have time”. In my slower months (aka now), I get to stop and think about that phrase. “I don’t have time”. Have time. Time is never something we have. We can’t own it. We can’t speed it up or slow it down. If you want to get really existential, you can blow your mind out by thinking about the fact that time is a man-made concept and therefore only exists if we choose to obey it**. There are only two things we can do with time – use it wisely, or watch it go past. I reckon a little bit of both is just right. Have the time of your life one day, and then let time pass you by the next. Go out for a good time, and then take time off. Take some time away from home, spend some time on yourself. Time flies, but you’ve got all the time in the world. Time is never enough. Timing is everything. Time after time after time.
However you spend it, time is the present, and the present is a gift. A Christmas gift that comes faster every bloody year.
Alright, gotta go. Time for dinner.
*Funemployment – the name we actors have given to our daily activities. I do work very hard to chase my dreams and scrape together savings, but I also have a looooot of time for wandering through $2 shops, napping on park benches in the sun and attending any/every social event as an excuse to peel myself from the ass-dent in my couch.
** This thought is so heavy (and possibly stupid/untrue) that it hurts my brain, but I didn’t come up with it – a student once used it as an excuse for his lateness to a class I was teaching. I retaliated with “I know you are but what am I?” because I didn’t get it.
By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably got time.