Friday, January 16, 2004

What's Up

Last Sunday was the hottest January day in Perth in 6 years (got up to 40.5 degrees, I think), so Allen and I decided to wait until late afternoonish to head down to the beach for a swim. I didn't want to hang out at one of the "popular" beaches and have to fight for towel space, so we headed just south of City Beach, to the beach that borders on the dog beach (where I have taken Deefa, my loveable, dopey cocker spaniel a coupla times for a run - too hot for him this day though!) and the crowd was a much more reasonable size. The water was just perfect - clear and a gorgeous shade of aquamarine, and was refreshingly icy. (I must say that beaches in Hawaii just have nothing on Perth beaches - they are much rockier due to the islands being volcanic - I was kinda horrified but amused to find out that all of the sand on what is probably the most popular beach in the world, Waikiki, is imported from Australia!).

So anyways, Al and I are having a bit of a dip, and I notice a couple of women swimming near us, whose husbands are waiting back on the sand for them. One of them looks (and sounds) vaguely familiar, and I realise that she resembles one of the teachers from my old high school, whom I haven't seen for probably 6 years. And this wasn't just any teacher - this was the one that all the guys at school wanted, and all the girls (me included) wanted to be - when I was in year 10, she was fresh out of uni, enthusiastic, intelligent, athletic, blonde and generally gorgeous. So I look over a couple of times, trying to work out if it's her, and figuring that I won't have to talk to her in any event, coz there's no way she'll remember little ol' me. I'm watching discreetly as she gets out of the water and heads up to hubby (noticing, smugly, that she's gained 1 or 2 kilos) and she looks right at me and does this little wave. I kinda just smile and nod, thinking bugger, how do I get out of this awkward situation - am I supposed to go up and say hello, or just play it cool?

So I delay for a little while, as she stands on the beach with hubby and friend couple, looking like they're going to leave...but they don't. So I drag Allen out and say we gotta go say hello, and dry off and delay a little more (after all, can't really interrupt when she's apparently engrossed in conversation with the 3 others...) and eventually hubby and male friend head up the path to the carpark, so I deem it safe to approach. Allen tags along behind, and her friend abandons her as we get closer. We exchange the usual pleasantries, what have you been up to, you must be nearly finished uni by now (yeah, I've been working 2 years now), are you still teaching (yeah but I am 5 months pregnant) - woah, hold up, well I guess that explains the extra kilo or two!!

At the end of the whole conversation I was left feeling, I dunno, a little disappointed that this woman that I just worshipped in high school is living such a "normal" and maybe mundane existence... happily married with hubby and starting a family, still living in Perth and maybe continuing to teach part time once the bub is born. Now, I know this is a perfectly fine and worthy vocation, which many people would totally envy, and if she's happy with it (which she totally seemed to be) then that's great - but to me, a life like that just seems to be lacking - I expected much more earth-shattering and worldly accomplishments and goals from someone that I thought so highly of. I don't want to find myself in that kind of position in 7 years' time - but I am afraid that I'll get to 31, look back and wonder what have I achieved in the last 10 years??! Even worse, I may get there, find that I am still single, and be insanely jealous of my friends who are married and starting a family. And that really scares me.


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