Sunday Tittle Tattle: Happy Birthday To Me, Time Flies, Etc

ruth crilly aged four

If you’re reading these words then I haven’t managed to write the proper post I’d intended; I’m at my brother’s wedding this weekend. Yesterday was also my birthday. Twenty one! Woohoo! Actually I’m quite glad I’m not twenty one – my breasts may have been as firm as grapefruits but I was crap at choosing men and had credit card debts up to my eyeballs.

Anyway, yes. Thirty five! I have a little story about getting older and how the time flies. When I was fifteen (grapefruits hoisted up to unbelievable heights in my white Wonderbra) I was walking past the art room at school, wearing my purple school skirt that barely covered my bum and eating sweets from the Tuck Shop, and I stood still in the autumn air and thought, in one year’s time, I will be sixteen and I will have done my GCSEs. I distinctly remember saying to myself, stop and take in this moment. Remember it – the weather, the sights and smells – and when you look back on it in a year’s time it will be really weird. Like time travel.

Obviously I didn’t say those exact words, because they are a bit like they’ve been taken from a weird motivational speech, but you get the gist. It was the first time I had been consciously “aware” of time and time passing and attempted to mark it in some way.

And do you know what? I did walk past the art room a year later and think about exactly that day and those things; the fizzy sweets I had been eating, the weird eggy smell from the drains in the art room, the way that my tights had been really itchy on my thighs and I had filled in a hole in the fabric with a black biro on my skin. I remembered the smell of my Sure deodorant, the pain in my shoulder from carrying a too-heavy bag.

And twenty years later – TWENTY! – I still remember all of those things. How great is that? I don’t think that we stand still enough and imprint things onto our memories, so I’m really glad that I made the time. Because (as you know if you’re around the same age as me or older) we didn’t really take photos in our teen years, did we? It’s not as though people carried cameras about with them, and nobody had a mobile phone until we were at least seventeen. And – phones with cameras?! Don’t make me laugh! The idea of a phone that did more than – er – phone, or text things on a single scrolling line (remember that?), would have been mind-blowing.

So I have very few pictures of myself between the age of about 13 and 21, but I do have my art room memory and I cherish it. So much has happened in those twenty years – and so it should have – but the time has flown by. So here’s to another twenty years, but – if I could send out a request – could they just go a little slower?

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