"What on earth would you do that for?"
Yes, what 'was' I doing and for god's sake, why? Last time this happened, we argued, sulked, probably cried and took the piss out of each other...a lot I think!
Yet, with bags packed, the youngest beehive and I drove up to the Lake District last Friday to spend a whole weekend with some of the loveliest people I know. The loveliest people of whom I spent too short a time with 25 years ago, only to spend too short a time with them this time.
25 years ago, we were all 17 and 18, had just completed our A levels and were embarking on an end of exams, celebratory holiday in the Lakes. Armed with tents, sleeping bags and attitude we boarded several trains to commence what was, in those days, quite a mammoth journey from East to West.
However, here we were 25 years later re-living that same holiday, only with many more years of experience, life, children and, sensibly, equipment under our belts.
The same 17 and 18 year olds but now fully grown into our skins and characters.
The weather smiled on us all weekend and I don't think I stopped smiling either.
Yes, of course it could have gone horribly wrong, after all we are now different to the way we were. There were relationships within the group that, in time, went wrong, there were disappearances overseas by some, the loss of contact by many. There have been marriages, births, deaths, losses, achievements. Lives have been lived so very separately to the safe little gang in the rural fens that we once were.
But deep down, perhaps we're not too different to who we were. Perhaps we are just happier and more secure with who we are now? I know I am. I'm not the socially awkward person I was, concerned with who liked me and who didn't, not wanting to unbalance the world with my presence, frightened to upset the kilter. I am happy to laugh at the younger me, having learnt that she helped the older me become who I am. I'm not frightened to say what I think and feel or upset the equilibrium occasionally if it needs to be upset. Maybe, these people/this time that I spent a mere 5% of my current life with were/are so much more important to me/us than we actually realise. My future has been shaped irrevocably by this period in my life and these amazing people.
I hope that the younger me has helped me become a good mother to my own children when I feel the tug of social inadequacies and awkwardness happen to my own growing teens and tween. She helps me understand how to help them without making them feel even more self conscious of this exceedingly wild, exciting and messed up ride.
But, I know she would not have become who she is now without this group of Morrisey loving/hating, liberal thinking (or not!), sign-stealing, road defacing Anti-Thatcherites from 1990.
If they have taught me any one thing, it is that the journey is always going to be bumpy, it isn't going
to be parallel to anyone elses. Life won't be straightforward, it won't be the way you see it in your head probably, however, having a good group of friends however far away and however infrequently you see them, it will mould your very soul!
PS: as I know you'll all read this even if you deny it ;-) Soon please! Not 25 years, not even 2, Soon!