I came across this on a walk a few days ago.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking of it. The graffiti, that is.
It was one of those stress relieving walks. You know the ones, earphones in, whatever playlist you generally prefer the most, comfortable walking shoes. Mine are neon yellow Adidas, bouncy in the soles and bought on sale. I hoped they’d bring me attention but now I find them embarrassing, covered in mud, and battered. They’re worn. Anyway, in this walk, you take off in any direction and let your feet guide the way. You go up inclines and down slopes, along winding country paths. Maybe you spot something interesting, usually you don’t. But you return to your home, aching in the hips, with all that tensions temporarily pushed to one side. You sit and have a tea. In my case, a coffee. Over-caffeination brings anxiety, I’ve been told.
But this scratching…it grabbed my attention because we’ve all been there. Young, hopeful, naïve, screaming our incontestable assuredness into the void. This, we carved, is unshakeable. A nation of youths out there whom, if you were to ask, would lift up their chins and declare this is forever, mate.
And for a certain amount of time, we – you and I who did the same thing before them – believed it.
Are Lisa and Lee still together? The historian in me laments the lack of dating.
Think of yourself, however many decades ago. That one special person who’d caught your eye, who’d made you blush, tongue-tied, quivering in the shoes your parents bought you for your birthday. You hold hands, sneak kisses, fumble nervously, have dates at a cheap pizza place. You declare permanence. You’ll be together forever.
Are you and whats-his-her-their-face still together?
Didn’t think so.
The chances are, Lisa and Lee limped on for a while then let go and moved on.
But ponder it. That certainty, that sure-fieriness, that we-got-this-in-the-bag-ness. It’s nothing if not the most stubborn of personality traits, yet somewhere along the way, many of us just seem to….lose it.
No longer 4 eva, we become a people of sorry to bother, thanks for your time, just following up. We become ironed shirts and commutes, office jargon, work socials, and late-night projects, eye bags and youth retaining creams to cling onto what we once had. We don’t stand tall and proud; we crave the acceptance and approval of others. We work long hours to impress our bosses and hope to be noticed. Those of us who haven’t been so lucky (myself included) we wake up to an endless barrage of rejection emails clogging up our inboxes. We stress and fret and toss and turn over job searching and offers, rent payments, love lives, rising utilities, and how we compare to others. We mentally despair over the decades coming and what they hold for us and those not yet born. Rising temperatures, rising sealevels, rising levels of air pollution, rising poverty, hunger, war, displacement, everything rising but not the right things and certainly not us. Not to where we hoped we’d be.
Our unapologetic statements of permanence…they crumble. We fall down a notch or four, to become requests of affirmation.
There are adult versions too, ones which require rings and dresses and ceremonies and expensive documents. They, too, while declaring perpetuity, stumble. Rarely in an amicable way, and often with young and blameless victims in the form of children forced to divide up weekends. We bring life into the world, thereby continuing the circle.
Then we grow old, we move on to somewhere hopefully kinder, and in two generations we are forgotten.
All that remains is that bridge out there, on a walkway no one uses, rusted and weather worn, where two young and bright-eyed kids, red-cheeked from the wind, used a key to carve out…
Me + You 4 Eva.
And me. Wondering who you were.
📸Image: happinessisaforeignconcept & reasons to stay alive