It was our 8th wedding anniversary recently. Given that my lovely husband is currently entirely housebound (and more or less confined to the sofa) with a climbing injury, I was being as upbeat as possible about adventures we have had. Indeed, smashing your Achilles in pieces and a few calf muscles to boot, within 6 hours of arriving on the first climbing holiday in 18 months, is pretty much up there in the adventure stakes.
So on the plus side, he didn’t reap such an injury by face-planting off a kerb. He tried to do something with his life. I on the other hand have more or less retreated behind a desk, into the completely diverting work of software development. Or rather, telling clever people who actually know who to develop software what they might want to think about writing. And then having to explain to some not quite so clever people that maybe in a year where most of the big money goes to software companies, as indeed it does in most years, it might be a little tired to trot out phrases like “technology can’t make decisions about the products they build”. Right, yes, that’s definitely how Dmitry Zaporozhets built a product that was one of the biggest IPOs of the year, by waiting for someone to eventually make a decision about what they didn’t know they wanted.
Anyway, it is almost goodbye to 2021. As I was walking around Sainsbury’s earlier today, I had this blog in my head, full of the wistful sadness of all the broken plans and just basic sense of security that we used to take for granted. I was looking for the right oats (yes, this is a thing), and Disco 2000 was playing in the background, and I realised that not only was the song released 26 years ago, but that the people who were born then are an entire generation apart from me. Children born in 2000 have now finished university.
How much did I hope and dream, back in 2000? I felt like the lyrics spoke to me, as indeed they were designed to. The sense of looking forward, anticipating how my life would develop, and being quite sure that it would not involve any of the friends I left behind each of the many times we moved to another city:
And they said that when we grew up
We’d get married, and never split up
Oh, we never did it, although I often thought of it
I was so excited back in 1997 about all the possibilities of life. All those passions, those swoops of joy and of complete devastation, are all gone, replaced by a sort of neutral resignation at the perfectly acceptable, pleasant life I have fashioned. A happy marriage, a good job, a nice house, a family. My little boys are sitting on the sofa whilst a rather sick little girl stays fast asleep upstairs. I love them so much, but most of my feelings are just abject fear at what the future holds for them. What adventures can they have in such a world? I must hope I suppose, but it’s nothing like the peripatetic weirdness of my own life, and with no travel seemingly possible again, I wonder if it will ever be like that.