My best thoughts of the week, collected and presented to you for your Sunday reading. This week: homesickness, an ode to my Fitbit and the ambivalence of ‘life admin’.
Sometimes I watch Qantas ads to make myself cry. The 2015 ‘Feels like home’ campaign in particular destroys me. At first, I would wait until David left the room or the train carriage had emptied before taking a deep breath, opening YouTube and purging on the staged reunion videos. Here, I would sob my inexorable, ugly tears, leaving myself more depressed than before. A vice to curb my homesickness, this habitual watching experience soon became something I no longer tried to hide. Sitting down next to David, fingers itching with anticipation, I would ask whilst smiling, “Wanna watch videos of the Qantas ads with me?” and he would sigh a resigned sigh and say “Yeah, okay, go on” knowing full well he would be dealing with my fallout tears afterwards. I have now advanced to listening to “I Still Call Australia Home” during my workouts and “I Am Australian” when I am sitting on the toilet. For someone who is not overly patriotic about their country or directly identifies as Australian, this new-found obsession seems completely unwarranted. And yet, Australia is home. It’s where my family and friends are, and where my childhood and adolescent memories live.
Biologically speaking, listening to and watching melancholic content has been shown to boost levels of hormones such as prolactin. In response to this content, the brain tries to prepare itself for a traumatic event but when no such event happens, we’re left with a pleasurable mix of opiates that have nowhere else to go. So, I take these emotions and release them in a cathartic expression to feel connected. To feel like I’m not alone. To know that millions of people across the world are continually departing and arriving, welcoming and farewelling, trying to find their place in the world. For now, I bound out and roam afar, comforted in the knowledge that Australia will always be there to welcome me back home.
An ode to my FitBit.
An unexpected gift under the tree,
An Inspire 3 Fitbit addressed to me.
Synced to my body, attached at the wrist,
“Get up and move!” you annoyingly insist.
We’re a pair you and I, my own fitness buddy,
Toning my legs, 6-packing my tummy,
Both a blessing and a curse,
You track my heart like a mobile nurse.
I love and resent you for your constant checks,
For now I cannot rest without 10,000 steps.
When I was little, I wanted to be a grown up, purely so I could do ‘life admin’. I dreamt of running errands, booking appointments and visiting the banks. I too wanted to drive around in my car and pick up parcels or dash to the supermarket for groceries. I blame my mother for this; she made being an adult look so damn easy. Whether it was after-school pick-ups or on the weekends, I would sit in the passenger seat of my mum’s car and play the role of her personal assistant. I would dial the butchers on Bluetooth and try to mirror her tone of voice when her friends would text to confirm lunch tomorrow. She had a never-ending to-do list and I was more than happy to oblige in helping her tick it off. Sure, it looked chaotic and stressful but in those moments of productivity, I would sit agape and marvel at this woman who seemed SO ACCOMPLISHED. Now, I am twenty-five, and I slightly resent life admin. Dominated by a list of things to do, I am exhausted by the reality of what it takes to be an adult. You’re telling me that I have to pay my rent, review my insurance policy, book my gynaecologist appointment, do my laundry AND work a 9-5 job in one day?! I hate it and I love it. The overwhelmingness of it all is somehow combatted with the extreme endorphins I feel of getting something done. It’s not about the glorification of being busy or working so hard you get burnout. It’s more that there is a power in taking care of yourself; a sense of autonomy and authority that you get over your life. The to-do list will go on, and I will complain until the day I die, but my god, what a fucking thrill.