What’s New With Me? Not Much.

Whenever someone asks me what’s new, I have the worst answer:

“Not much.”

Newcastle Australia
Just taking pictures of plants. As you do.

It’s generic and obscure, but it’s my answer. Does anyone really want to hear about the mundane details of anyone’s life?

– Somebody moved in upstairs, and every time they open and close their closet door it sounds like an angry beast is bellowing in pain.

– I cooked risotto last week for the first time. It was good.

– Australian immigration emailed me, which was exciting until I saw that it was only to tell me that my application was being re-routed to the Perth office.

– Last week I discovered that cherries are officially out of season.

I mean, if you would like me to expand on any of these topics, just say the word. I’ve been struggling to come up with things to write about lately. But other than that, yeah, not much out of the ordinary has been happening.

Newcastle Australia
Unless you count pigeon photography as an event.

At the same time, I have this weird sense that something is going to happen. That this time – pre-visa, pre-marriage, pre-final draft – is a transitional period in my life, a gateway into the next phase. This year is when the things we’ve been preparing for and talking about for so long are on the verge of being completed, and as of yet we don’t have concrete plans to replace them. Jared and I are just…living normal lives, working out what we want to do next. Living in the land of the ‘not much.’

In high school,  graduating seniors traditionally choose a quote to be published under their photo in the yearbook. My biggest regret is that I went too serious with my choice, but high school graduation had me feeling pretty wistful and retrospective at the time. I was suddenly acutely aware that growing up meant never getting these moments back, that being a teenager came with an expiration date.

Anyway, let’s not go sappy like it’s 1999. My quote was this:

And the days went by like paper in the wind
Everything changed, then changed again
~Tom Petty, To Find a Friend

I liked how it addressed the gradual, infinitesimal nature of what it means to live life. That sometimes, the days are just caught in a gust of wind, fluttering past before you can grab them. And then you’re looking around, trying to work out where you’ve misplaced the past couple of months, or years, as if they’re a pair of glasses that you later find sitting on your head. And all you can remember is how those days felt, because you didn’t think that anything actually happened.

Newcastle Australia
It’s not much, but it’s pretty.

In a recent episode of Downton Abbey, the butler, Carson, had a line that stuck with me.

“The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end that’s all there is.”

It stuck with me because it bugged me. That’s it? That’s all you get? At first, I reluctantly agreed with the statement. Technically, yeah, that’s what you’re left with at the end of a life – personal and shared memories.

But now I think that it’s an oversimplification of this business of life, which is doing. All of the doing – graduating, saying ‘I do,’ finishing the final draft, watching too many kitten videos, trying to bake bread rolls at home, walking to the beach after dinner – all of it. Your actions, no matter how mundane, shape who you are. They don’t just provide you with memories.

Whoa. There I go, getting all 1999-broody-and-intense again. That’s the other unappreciated benefit of living in the not-much; it gives you time to think, to re-assess, and to make the most of what’s to come. I say that not much is happening, but it turns out that ‘not much’ is actually quite a lot.

So. What’s new with you?

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  1. I like the Downtown Abbey quote for the inspiration it gives me to push and prove it wrong. Which is especially important in the inbetween times because we find that we have to do the pushing ourselves, to make those actions rather than let them happen to us. Wonderful food for thought.

    1. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s a really good point that we have to do the pushing ourselves – that’s right where I am right now. Taking action instead of waiting for things to happen.

  2. I’ve been wishing not much was happening with me lately! I’m crazy busy. But I have to admit, I am much happier than I was 2 months ago when I couldn’t find a job and had all the time in the world. Guess the grass is always greener! PS. Nice pigeon!

    1. It goes back and forth. I have this feeling that I’m about to have some work rolling my way and that my days are going to be less…shall we say…flexible than they have been. So I’m trying to really pound out my book and appreciate the down time when I have it, because I know that it won’t always be that way (nor do I necessarily want it to be). It seems like you have been all over Oz lately! It’s planting seeds of ideas for my future travels.

  3. You did it again! That’s my life (despite our lives being completely opposite). The very first thing everyone loves to ask a stay-at-home-mom (I prefer, “full time mom”, but I know this makes others queasy), is “so, like, WHAT do you do all day?”

    I can’t really tell you, the same thing your day care does all day? I will tell you I haven’t really sat down in five years, but not not all of my tales from the day will rock your world.

    My days are, however, super awesome mini memories getting woven together to leave me with a very fulfilling life. I guess that’s what I’m doing all day.

    Sounds like you’ve mastered it too. 🙂

    1. This: “super awesome mini memories getting woven together to leave me with a very fulfilling life.” Yes! That’s what I was talking about. We’ve got this pursuit of happiness thing in the bag.

  4. Eurgh, I never know how to answer that question. Even if I’ve done a lot, I’m just like, “not much…went abroad…”. Or, “are you excited to move to Taiwan?” “yeah”. If I were to really expand, people would probably be confused and wonder why I was answering when their question was posed only out of politeness.

    I hope everything goes well for you this year. 2014 seems like it’ll be a transitional year for a lot of people (me included). And also that’s the funkiest pigeon I’ve ever seen in my life.

    1. That’s exactly how I answer the ‘are you excited’ question. Maybe next time I’ll do a Tom Cruise jumping-on-the-couch episode just to throw them for a loop.

      Thanks for the well wishes, I hope Taiwan works out for you – so far what you’ve written makes it sound pretty good. My dad was there in 2009 for the Deaflympics and has raved about it ever since. And the pigeon – I am transfixed by them. No one else in Australia seems to notice how weird they are.

  5. Great post!

    You have a really great introspective travel blog, and I’m looking forward to digging through your archieves

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