Something is stirring, change is afoot - or so it would appear. Lounging somewhat sloppily in my sister's back garden, glossing under the first of the British summer rays as my muscles softened and my mind sank into a meandering free-fall, I clocked the current reading picks of myself and fellow morning-sun aficionados. The titles read with an uncannily congruent call for insight and clarity into life that featured The Celestine Prophecy (on my part), The Alchemist (my sister's) and Freedom From the Known (sister's flat-mate). There we sat, three prudent, adept women hitting their stride and with the world at our feet yet struggling in our own individual quest for that elusive understanding into what the flip it all means and just what it is we are meant to sink our energies into in order to maximise our time here on this flawed-yet-treasured earth. Yup, things were getting deep for a Friday morning, lacking as we did that Thank Crunchie feeling (no surprise there given the fact we all work in hospitality and therefore about to commence our working week that night).
Something is afoot alright since I'm finally forced to recognise that therapy is no longer an indulgence for the North American elite, but is in fact very much alive and kicking on Irish soil. Three of my closest friends now boast of having their very own therapist. Actually that's not true, two of them are sharing the same therapist...Noreen, she's great I hear, I'd love a Noreen in my life. But do I actually need a Noreen to help direct my manner of perceiving, understanding and responding to the ways of the world?
My Facebook feed bristles under the weight of self-help articles posted by friends with captions screaming: Ten Choices You Will Regret In 10 Years and 12 Things To Start Caring About Today. The fact that these are formatted in an easy-to-digest listicle would have you believe that with nothing more than a little tweaking of thought patterns and the formation of new and improved habits, happiness, success and the Holy Grail is yours for the picking. I can't help but class these Love Thyself bullet points as 'vanilla' reading, as in 'nice', as in 'not very helpful at all' but serve to effectively demonstrate the crucial fact that all my comrades in life collectively experiencing a Freak Out moment. Is this our quarter(ish)-life crisis? Our time to panic about not having the right (or indeed potential) partner/career/abode/credit rating/smartphone/aspirations/profile.
We've all toured Sydney harbour, sweated it out in the downward dog, regaled our Tequila stories, zipped down the wire, touched the coral, ached with the pain, surfed the wave, punched the main stage air, let loose the lantern, sat the finals, loved with no boundaries, popped the pill, hit the bongos, never counted the cost, soared the alpine skies, cried at the ending, jumped feet first, rejoiced for the beginning, knee-slid into mischief, socked it to the man, blistered in the sun, wrote the code, broke the code, wore the dress, overslept overpaid overshared and yet all the while we wanted more. Continue to want more, to consume more, to feel more, to be more.
Our celebrity-championing culture has much to answer for but in all honesty is there anything more spirit-lifting than that post-dinner tea and chocolate biscuit. I take insurmountable solace from my eating, containing as it does the sole power to transform my 'meh' day into something joyous. For me - at this moment in my life - this is the secret to my inner contentment. Drinking my cup of tea and thinking about my next chocolate biscuit while I chew down on my first. Fully present with my taste bud sensors are on high alert, this is the moment I live for. These are my days.
So while I am aware that my phone could easily be mistaken for its 2001 counterpart, I have holes in the heels of my socks, customers at work persistently drive me batty and three months in I continue the struggle switching from the G to E Major chord, I'm seeking comfort and thrills in my day-to-day habits and routines of entirely no consequence. We're all in this big mix-mash of life together and regardless of how many books promising enlightenment you read, how propitious the words uttered by Noreen may be or how many inspirational John Lennon-esque quotes you read on your social media news feed, only we can quieten the demon roars of inadequacy inside our heads. As I shimmy along blindly pursuing my own personal brand of tonic in a bid to stay alive in these changing times and avoid morphing into the cookie-cutter mould relentlessly paraded on our TV screens and monthly glossies, I can't help but dream about the medicinal illusions wrought on by Drambuie and red wine. Luckily, it just so happens that tonight marks the official opening of the shed bar, Doherty's, in the very garden that got me thinking about these unsettling tides of change that myself and my contemporaries are currently trying to navigate as we jostle with accepting we've hit the state of fully-fledged adulthood. Our reference points in life will no doubt shuffle as circumstances dictate, but for now I'm willing to explore and appreciate the mere art of life itself with one eye on my glass of vino tinto and the other on that dreamy flat mate of my sister's - the very brains and masculine power behind our latest drinking establishment. My days indeed.