Grown Up

I will be turning 35 in a just a few short months…and I got married last year (yes, things are much changed since since I wrote The L Word). I now have a husband and I go by the name Aunty Yaya too. Even Paperdoll has an updated, adult look about it these days.

Long gone are the days (years?) of drunken London night buses at 4am with a dirty kebab stop on the way home…apparently I’ve grown up. But aside from my imminent graduation into the next age tick box, how do I know I’ve grown up?

The first indication is that I haven’t dyed my hair since 2009. Prior to that I tried various shades of ‘unflattering’ to complement whatever horrid cut I was sporting at the time. Whenever the thought enters my head now, my grown up brain remembers that there’s photographic evidence of the dark-brown-post-breakup-fringe phase that left me looking like a goth member of ABBA. Even balayage, with its alluring regrowth concealment appeal, can’t tempt me these days.

The ratio of flat shoes to high heels in my wardrobe has shifted significantly as I have grown up.  The high heels I do own now, I only wear on ‘special’ occasions…AKA when I feel I would be a social leper not to. At which point I curse them almost immediately and give my younger self a mental high five and face slap, simultaneously. How did I put myself through that pain so frequently?! My grown up self despises heels so passionately that I even spoke out about it recently in the UK media.

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As a grown up, I’ve noticed that work has become less about the pay cheque and more about doing something fulfilling with my days. I want to contribute, I want to change the world…or at least have some small impact. I’m told this will change once I have children and a mortgage…but that is a whole other level of grown up that I am unwilling to face just yet.

I know I must have grown up because I now get up earlier on weekends than weekdays, to do things like Pilates, or ‘make the most of my day’. Bed times and wake up times are becoming earlier, synchronised with each other. Soon I will be my parents…falling asleep on a recliner at 8:30pm, while watching Downton Abbey.

I know I must have grown up because sometimes my lips are moving and I hear my mother’s words coming out. Occasionally I’m actually mistaken for my mother now too…and comments such as ‘Oh my, you look more like your mother every day!’ are becoming more frequent. It’s a good thing Mrs B Senior still looks like a fox as she heads towards 60…I won’t complain.

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When I was young, I couldn’t drive because I had to drink. Now I drive so I don’t have to drink. That right there is the epitome of being grown up. The only thing more grown up is not being able to drink because you are pregnant (refer to my earlier comment about that being next level grown up sh#t I’m not ready for yet).

‘I remember when you were this big!’ and ‘Oh, you’re just a baby!’ are common phrases in my vocabulary now that I am a grown up. The latter comment is usually thrown at ‘young people’ I mistook as being of similar age to me. When I discover they are in fact in their early twenties. And I realise that means there’s a decade between us. Don’t even get me started on the pop culture references I can’t use with these youngsters…that attempt always ends with me uttering the words ‘Oh, you’re too young to remember’, or, ‘Never mind, you weren’t born yet’.

A sure sign that I am a grown up is that catch ups with my friends now involve venues and menus that are child proof/friendly. I am also honoured to be ‘Aunty Carla‘ to a number of little ones who are fortunate enough not to be connected to me biologically (apologies to the one who does have my blood running through his veins). My younger self avoided children like the plague, but these days, my heart hurts to be so far away from the majority of these small people and their wealth of cuddles and imaginative games.

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For all this growing up though, some things will never change. I continue to irresponsibly open things with my teeth, tissues still find their way into my clothes washes on a regular basis and I will always subscribe to Jerry Seinfeld’s philosophy that cereal is an acceptable meal at any time of the day.

I may inevitably be headed for that 35-45 age tick box, but I think I still have plenty more growing up to do.

Version 30.0_Operating System Summary

1981/82_0 years old

10:15pm, September 29th, 1981, life begins. Cesarean section birth (big head, small pelvis). Receive the name Carla Therese Bianchi (after Carlo Bianchi…first of family to migrate to Australia, five generations before).

1982/83_1 year old

Cute baby (complete with chubby cheeks and dimples), hence become the pride and joy of family. Revel in the glory of being first born child and grandchild. Glory thwarted quickly when contract measles and have miserable Christmas in the Queensland heat.

1983/84_2 years old

Acquire ‘Speckles’ the rocking horse. Think I am somewhat of a cowgirl and spend every waking minute on the horse until he is retired to Dad’s shed later in life.

1984/85_3 years old

Anna, sister and now best friend (but worst enemy at time) is born. Acts of jealous sabotage such as hair pulling and pinching carried out until she is old enough to be valuable play mate.

Favourite pastime: riding shotgun in Dad’s car.

1985/86_4 years old

Start kindergarten and discover play dough, crayons and building blocks…preview of future career?

1986/87_5 years old

Preschool begins, nominate best friends as Chris Matthews and Regan Olsen. Become inseparable until grade five when they leave for an all boys school. Subsequently despise being a girl.

1987/88_6 years old

Miss half of Amy Tute’s 6th birthday party due to miscommunication with my mother. Bad start to year. Very disappointed to miss ‘Pass The Parcel’ and ‘Musical Chairs’.

Tonsils are removed in day surgery and eat junket for the first time. Not a fan.

Have nightmares while on a sleepover at Chris’s house after watching ‘The Goonies’ and developing a fear of Sloth.

1988/89_7 years old

Mum and Dad go to World Expo ’88 in Brisbane without children…still hold bitter resentment toward them for this act. More so for the lame gift brought back…set of six thimbles sporting Expo mascot…a platypus. Why?

Become slightly appeased when taken to Norfolk Island by parents for first ‘overseas’ trip. Write a report for class on fact that cows have right of way on roads in Norfolk Island (they do, it’s true).

1989/90_8 years old

Family trip to coast for Easter. Find stash of chocolates in esky before Easter Sunday. Same chocolates appear in baskets Sunday morning, supposedly from Easter Bunny. Begin to doubt Easter Bunny’s existence…also start to wonder about Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy.

Am told another sibling will arrive in 1990. Hope every single day it will be a boy. Lauren arrives in December…early…not a boy. Swallow disappointment and use her for show and tell at school anyway.

1990/91_9 years old

Write story called ‘Upside Down World’ with best friend Claire Hickson. Misspell her name on front cover of book (Hixon). Still feel bad to this day.

Pour a bottle of red cordial over Katie Taylor after she smears Vegemite on me during lunch break. Realise may have anger issues. Still do not feel bad to this day.

Discover the joy of monkey bars and spend many hours upside down, trying to stop boys looking up skirt.

1991/92_10 years old

Most hated year of thirty year existence. Miss school camp because of illness. Suffer middle ear infection so bad am unable to play sport for a month. Smash front teeth on desk in classroom…classmates proceed to call me ‘chipmunk’ for the rest of the year.

Psychological scars are still healing, twenty years later.

1992/93_11 years old

Become obsessed with Babysitter’s Club books, have fantasies of starting own club and being Kristy (president…smart, organised, bossy).

When not fantasising about BSC, spend many hours watching Inspector Gadget, Shera, Care Bears and The Smurfs…want to be super hero or the like.

1993/94_12 years old

Become fully fledged tomboy. Hone handball skills against boys at school and competitive nature is awakened for the first time. Love of netball is born.

Spend most time outside of school as ‘street kid’ on rollerblades or bike with neighbourhood boys.

1994/95_13 years old

Start high school at St Ursula’s College. Favourite subjects: art, graphics and media. Receive an A- for Japanese speech…decide Japanese might not be so bad either.

Develop a major crush on Austin O’Brien (from My Girl 2). Watch My Girl 2 approximately ten times in a week. Am teased by Anna mercilessly for this act.

1995/96_14 years old

First kiss with Jason Flohr. Get busted in front of family home by family (rookie error). Mortifying memory which will last a lifetime.

Nan dies. Lose the person who taught me to knit, humoured my want to play hide and seek at all hours and gave cuddles on demand. Saturday nights and Christmases at Nan and Pop’s house come to an end.

Spend hours brooding in ‘my tree’ reading or listening to music.

1996/97_15 years old

Sense of adventure and rebellion kicks into gear. Climb drive in screen behind house while parents out…tell them years later. Parents are unsurprised.

‘The Rollerblading Incident’ occurs. Vast amounts of skin and flesh lost to the pavement on the hill at Picnic Point.

Buy first CD, Live ‘Throwing Copper’. Believe myself to be the height of coolness as into rock music. Suffer much ridicule from younger siblings and cousins for purchase. Stand by music convictions. ‘Throwing Copper’ in music collection to this day.

1997/98_16 years old

Allowed to stay out to 2am at after formal party with Megan Blocksidge. Consider this exceptionally kind until all curfew, drinking and party rules disappear a few short years later for little sisters. Realise it sucks to be the oldest sibling sometimes.

Get learners driving license. Many learners renewals to follow.

1998/99_17 years old

Am nominated the president of Interact club by classmates. Utterly surprised.

Visit Japan for first time. Fall in love with it (not squat toilets though) and decide to live there some day in future.

Graduate high school, decide to be an architect.

1999/00_18 years old

Move out of home (first of 16 moves to come) and into East Wing at Duchesne College.

Discover alcohol and spend the first three months of university drunk.

Somehow survive year, despite numerous ‘bucketing’ attempts from Leo’s boys, eating a diet of Baskin’s 99% fat free chocolate ice cream and stress of 4am trips to the printers the night before folio due.

2000/01_19 years old

Debauchery of 18th year catches up and now faced with reality of potentially failing university. Decide it’s time to pull head in, study more and drink less.

Manage to pass all subjects convincingly. Miracle worker.

2001/02_20 years old

Realise it’s time to move out of college to ensure repeat of previous year does not occur.

Move in with Kate Courtney. Cohabitation rituals of study at ‘the red table’, 4pm cuppas with Bold & The Beautiful are quickly established.

2002/03_21 years old

Work as student architect at Wilson Architects. Realise after 1 week have no desire to be architect. Wisely hold off on telling parents until alternative career is sought out.

Finally get drivers license.

Turn 21 and celebrate with a ‘Good & Evil’ themed party. Dress as angel. Ha.

2003/04_22 years old

Change degrees…take up interior design. Three years of architecture not entirely wasted and gain credit for 2 years of study. Graduate after just one year.

Very bad week had when wisdom teeth are removed and later stand on a bee. Gain knowledge that swelling at both extremities of the body concurrently is neither fun nor painless.

2004/05_23 years old

Initiated into the black hole (sorry, architecture firm) Woods Bagot. During next four years will lose many hours of life doing mindless ArchiCAD documentation, having clients ignore professional design opinion, having arguments with builders/contractors, suffering abhorrence of bosses and general contempt for a nine to whatever-hour-is-required job.

Become completely unable to wear metal as allergic reaction reaches new heights. Fascination with and collection of plastic jewellery begins.

2005/06_24 years old

Obsession with Foo Fighters and in particular Dave Grohl, commences. Proceed to purchase 10 Foo Fighters albums, DVDs, books and tickets to five concerts in the following six year period. Number of  pictures downloaded and YouTube clips of Dave Grohl watched to date, too numerous to count. Aspiration to one day marry Dave Grohl (when he leaves his model wife and baby girls) alive and well.

Lose Siamese fighting fish (Shadowfax) to the stomach of spirited and mischievous Cocker Spaniel ‘Bundy’ (may both fish and dog now rest in peace).

Cabin fever takes hold and plot to move to London and start life of travel abroad.

2006/07_25 years old

Move to London and live with Jess Roche. Initiated into London life with ‘Snakebites at the Walkie’, night bus adventures and K-Babs in Putney.

See snow for the first time ever. Favourite thing in the world.

Survive three head injuries (two alcohol related).

2007/08_26 years old

Get tattoo. Do not tell parents about it for several years. Still feel they are displeased with this choice.

Launch ‘Mo Woods Bagot’, raise money for Movember. Lead ten team members to raise over £2,000 despite being unable to grow moustache.

Walk 30 metres from office to pub called ‘The Couch’ every single Friday night. Heathrow Injection hits (unsurprising).

Lauren visits, travel to Paris together. Force her to ride every roller coaster at Euro Disney. Much fun had ( not so much for Lauren).

2008/09_27 years old

New job, new apartment, new friends made.

Want to shed Heathrow Injection, take up new health regime. Stop drinking. Stop eating typical English food. Farewell Heathrow Injection.

Anna comes to live in London. Travel to Barcelona and Prague together. Buy gumboots for Prague trip in anticipation of snow. No snow, wear gumboots anyway.

Complete first ever 10km race in under 54 minutes. Proud of self. Sadly, dodgy knee ends running career shortly after.

Acquire skills to survive any living conditions. Live with Sarah Casey (lovely, excellent cook, watch Greys together) and battle upstairs neighbours for a year. Live through drunken abuse, midnight visits from police, threats and the arrival of four firetrucks full of firemen after a false fire alarm. Do not mind arrival of firemen so much. Get said neighbours evicted…two weeks before moving out of flat. Win/fail.

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS. Lose job, must leave apartment and new friends.

2009/10_28 years old
No longer wanted in UK. Forced to leave by inability to obtain visa. Devastated. Concoct ‘London Bucket List’ of experiences not yet done in London/UK. Have three months to do all listed items.
Jump off 18 month health kick/alcohol free wagon for epic Monopoly Pub Crawl. Friends concerned about potential for disaster. Prove to friends can drink 24 drinks/shots over 13 hour period without passing out, causing self harm or requiring hospitalisation. Can even read map and direct group of 15 people at end of day. Impressive.
Spectator at ‘Cheese Rolling’ in Gloustershire. Sorely regret decision not to participate in event. Blame mother’s voice in head saying ‘Don’t do it…you’ll break a leg!!!’
Amaze family and friends with ability to get sun burnt…in Iceland. Iceland.
 
2010/11_29 years old
Spend eight months back in Australia in limbo. Decide to fulfill 12 year dream of living in Japan. Move to Japan.
Visit favourite building in Japan, Himeiji Castle. Castle covered in scaffolding for renovation…until 2015. Briefly contemplate staying in Japan till 2015.

Climb Mt. Fuji. Hardest. Thing. Ever. Done. In. Entire. Life. Forget to take foot shot at summit. Biggest fail of 30 year life. Fear this means another climb required.

Parents come to Japan (thus leaving Australia for the first time ever). Preview what life might be like with children…taxing, but humorous.

Survive major earthquake. Do not wish to relive experience. Ever.

2011_30 years old

Make first mature decision as a 30 year old. Choose to do yoga in favour of straightening hair before school. Pleased with judgement to prioritise health over appearance. Deem this to be good start to 30’s.
Planning all nighter in Tokyo to celebrate occasion (birthday, not yoga). Perhaps not such a grown up idea…but…
‘Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional’ – Chili Davis