My ‘do something new and then write about it for the last year of my twenties’ plan is already hitting snags.
Yesterday I travelled to Alaska (yes, I am currently lying on the bottom bunk of an Anchorage hostel) and spent a good 13 and a half hours in planes. I spent approximately another 5 hours in airports and a good 1 and a half on the tube before that. Add in another hour or two at either end to get up, get dressed, check into my hostel and get ready for bed and that was pretty much my entire day taken up with mainly non-exciting, fairly standard, on-the-edge-of-boring things (ok, so if it were someone else, perhaps travelling to Alaska would be something new and exciting. Perhaps even travelling to the USA, or overseas, or in a plane would be new and exciting… But, well, not to brag, but I have ‘done it all before’. Oh, and look how we’re already back on the topic of privilege… Is my final year of my twenties just going to be an endless realisation of how darn lucky I’ve been? That probably wouldn’t be so bad, now that I think about it. I could probably stand to do that… )
What is one to do that is new and exciting whilst spending the majority of their waking hours in a plane? I could’ve joined the mile-high club, I suppose, though most of the men around me were married and/or elderly. And the women not much better. I could’ve been upgraded to first-class, but I don’t rightly know how that works (though, perhaps I should find out for the return trip?)
It also brought up the question: the new and exciting thing that I have to do each day, does this have to be a deliberate act on my behalf? Or, if something new happens to me can I count that as well? My particular example in this case is that I actually watched (and enjoyed and LAUGHED at) Delta’s safety announcement. That was certainly a new experience for me. But, its not something I actively went out and searched for (‘ooh, let’s see if I can find an entertaining and well-conceived airline safety announcement! I’ve always wanted to see one of those!’) It was just sheer luck that the airline I was flying had spent a little bit of time considering their announcement and the fact that nobody paid attention to it and perhaps there was a way of fixing it. Oh, and by the way, its here, if you’re interested. How cheery and happy is that flight attendant? I could join the mile-high club with her, if you know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge nudge…
But, in the end, I decided that I couldn’t really write an entire blog post on that one safety announcement without risking losing all of my friends and readers.
Which left me with food. Again. I guess the good thing about travelling is that it is more likely that I can do something new every day, even if it just ends up being food.
By the time I got off my last flight in Anchorage last night, I had been awake for almost 20 hours. I was absolutely exhausted and absolutely starving. I wanted to go out for a burger, but I also wanted to just go to sleep. In the end, sleep won out and I ended up just buying some snack food. In particular, I got a Crunchy Peanut Butter Cliff Bar.
You may think that the Cliff Bar is a bit of a cheat, considering one of my other rules was that the new and exciting thing I did had to be something I had always wanted to do. Au contraire, my friends, au contraire. I have a story that makes the Cliff Bar the perfect and obvious choice for my new and exciting thing that I did yesterday.
When travelling in South America with my ex, we did a hike in Peru to some ancient Inca ruins. It was called Choquequirao and it was fabulous and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Unlike the Inca Trail, this trek isn’t so popular, because the ruins at the end haven’t been restored in the way Macchu Picchu has. So, apart from my ex, the guides and the porters, the only other person on the trip was a red-headed Georgian, whose penchant for using the phrase, ‘y’all’ when talking to our group would have me in fits of silent and uncontrollable giggles.
This Georgian was quite the outdoors-man and was putting me and my ex to shame by not only doing the epic 5 day trek we were all on, but following it with the Inca Trek. He also had with him his own personal supply of Cliff Bars in a variety of flavours. My ex and I were very interested, because we had never seen them and the packaging was pretty and this Georgian had clearly cared enough about them to cart what must have been at least a boxful to Peru with him so he could eat at least 2 a day throughout his treks.
‘Oh, they’re really, really good,’ he raved. ‘The flavours are great and they really fill you up on treks. They’re a good snack food, you know, not too sweet. I mean, they’re meant to have all this nutrition for exercise, but, really, they just taste really really good.’ And with that, he held out his choc-chip peanut-butter Cliff Bar to the both of us and said, ‘Try it.’
My ex, not being a girl and not being neurotic, and being skinny as fuck, immediately took a bite of the bar. ‘Oh, yeah,’ he enthused, ‘that’s great’. The bar was then held out for me. I stared at it. I was, bizarrely enough, at this particular moment in my life, for some strange unknown reason, in on a diet. The diet I was on didn’t necessarily mean I wouldn’t eat sweet things at all, but it did mean that I needed to look at the nutritional information on the packet and calculate exactly how many calories I thought I would be consuming with a nibble of the bar and then make a decision about whether or not that nibble was worth it. And, because that would have been an embarrassing and time-consuming process, and because I knew things that were advertised as being ‘high in energy’ usually were high in calories, and because I knew that peanut-butter and choc-chips were DEFINITELY high in fat and sugar, I said, ‘Oh, no, that’s ok.’
Ever since I have pondered what that Cliff Bar might taste like. I have seen them around, when I’ve been travelling and in a few specialist stores outside of the USA. Look, I’m not saying I spent my days looking out the window as the rain poured down and crying because I didn’t eat that Cliff Bar, but it did seem to be just another example of my ridiculousness around food and the things that I might be missing out on because of stupid, stupid diets. I mean, what delights could a glorious ‘healthy’ energy bar, made with my favourite thing – peanut butter – have in store for me? What had I missed out on?
So, last night, I finally put my demons to rest. I bought the peanut-butter Cliff Bar. I devoured it. I inhaled it. And it was…
You know? Like, it was… fine.
There was no fire and brimstone. The earth didn’t open up and swallow me because I had consumed an inexcusable amount of calories and fat. Conversely, angels didn’t come down from heaven to sing me songs that were appropriate for such a delectable experience.
Because the bar was… fine. It was fine. I mean, it was no cheesecake, but it did fill me up, so, yeah. You win some, you lose some.
Probably not worth putting off for 5 years. Probably not worth BUILDING UP for 5 years. But, hey, bigger issues and all that.
So, lesson number 3 from being 29: don’t put off little things for stupid reasons. Because the likelihood is that the little things will be much less exciting 5 years down the track, and by listening to the stupid reasons, by giving the weight, you could be giving them licence to torment you for the rest of your life.