So, the other day I was discussing exam results with a friend, and we were remarking upon a common but confusing occurrence, whereby the jury says:
We feel you’ve made a lot of progress this year. We hear many different things happening in your music making now, and we feel that you have really developed yourself as a musician and performer. With this in mind, we have decided to award you exactly the same mark we gave you last year.
It can be somewhat disheartening to us poor, downtrodden music students to be given the same result year after year, especially when that is somehow supposed to reflect the improvement and development that we have (hopefully) achieved.
This is when my friend and I came to a very simple, but life-changing realisation.
At the age of sixteen, my best friend and I made an almost daily pilgrimage on foot from school to our dance classes on the other side of town. She was far more diligent and organised than I, and so duly got her licence long before me. Nonetheless, I was able to share in the luxurious upgrade of the transport method.
One particularly memorable afternoon, we were waiting at a traffic light and my friend regaled me with the story of how, when still learning to drive a manual, she couldn’t quite manage the coordination one night and ended up bunny hopping through the drive-through video return. As she was enthusiastically giving an impression of the car, the light turned green, she panicked and we ended up bunny hopping halfway up the following block, squealing with equal parts laughter and shame.
The first month back in The Hague felt about as smooth as that car trip.
So the last five months have succeeded in breaking me. Have succeeded in tearing me down, leaving behind a shell of a person standing in the rubble of my former personality. All too often, I feel that the part of me that was happy, playful, attractive and fun to be around has died and is rotting away inside me, poisoning me from the inside out. I used to be funny. Now I’m just glum.
When I was a child in primary school, I didn’t quite grasp the underlying concept to the ubiquitous question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Rather than replying with the logical, normal reply of “A fireman!”, “A nurse” or “A marine biologist!” I replied “I want to be 25!”
Well hold on to your hat, inner child, as I am about to make all your dreams a reality! This week marks the anniversary of my birth, with a number that can be multiplied with alarming simplicity to obtain much greater, much more significant digits.
My 6 year-old self chose 25 because apparently that was the age she thought she would be truly grown up, independent, a well-functioning, put-together adult. Sorry about that.