Harriet Walker: 'I log on to Facebook and see nothing but new houses, weddings, dogs and babies'

 

Share
Related Topics

I had an existential crisis last week. I know I did, because my infinitely patient boyfriend pointed out that that was the problem.

I was On Holiday, you see, which is a very specific time of year and a part of life during which you realise you can't have everything you want, that life will never be exactly as you hoped it might be, and that the everyday makes up far more of the waking hours until you die than you'd like it to.

With the emotional pressures of actually being On Holiday taken on board, combined with the downright anxiety and stress of having drunk slightly too much the night before thrown into the mix, I'm sure you'll be able to appreciate how easily I found myself crying de profundis before I'd even gotten out of bed for an Alka-Seltzer.

The main crux of my crisis was this: that I couldn't figure out the point of myself. That's generally the gist of most crises, although I'll readily admit to having also applied the phrase to occasions when I haven't been able to decide what to wear, or when I've been separating an egg and the yolk refuses to come out whole.

Being On Holiday had made me realise I was caught very much between two stools – and yes, before you ask me to check both my stools and my privilege, let me assert that I know the rock and the hard place I'm about to describe are not so much uncomfortable or like falling down a fatal ravine, but more like the difference between sitting in an armchair or on a beanbag shaped liked a burger.

The thing is, I can't figure out how old I'm supposed to be. On the one hand, I've bought a flat, I have a job, I pay things to companies that always seem to want a bit more from me, and I make money doing something that someone once told me I was good at. On the other, I spend most of my time wishing I didn't have to do any of that and hankering after the days when I had little to no responsibility in my life, and money in even scarcer amounts.

"I'm not ready to not go out and be pissed all the time," I wailed to my boyfriend, who wasn't experiencing a crisis himself because he had sensibly stopped drinking well before I had. "It's not fair. I'd much rather talk about Baileys and TV rather than house prices and when I think I might have a kid."

"What would be nice, too," I mused, "is if those conversations sometimes even started with a question as to whether I would in fact like a kid at all." (I've decided I do, because I will need someone to pick things up for me when I am too old to bend over, and because I don't want to die alone.)

"You just don't understand," I finished grandly, with all the self-important élan of one who believes they have an argument for gross self-indulgence all stitched up, "because you are not a woman."

My logic here is that, while I log on to Facebook and see nothing but new houses, weddings, dogs and babies, he logs on and his mate Kev's taken another picture of his own genitals with a face drawn on them. That while I desperately try to hide the fact that I haven't worked out as a proper female grown-up (can't cook, can't add up, bored by babies), he is able to spend his spare time being utterly, utterly himself, talking about things he really likes, such as football, news and public transport.

"It's a fair cop, pal," he admitted. "You're just having a crisis. But it'll be fine, you know."

Within two hours, it was much better, actually, but for the dull settling in of a raging headache and a strange feeling in my stomach. Within four hours, the crisis had gone almost entirely because I was able to do nothing but focus on how absolutely dreadful I was feeling. "I didn't even drink that much," I thought. "What could be the matter?"

Then I remembered, just a few weeks earlier, how everyone had told me on my birthday that this was the time when hangovers stopped acting like an annoying kid brother refusing to relinquish the remote control, and turned into axe-wielding psychopaths that hunted you down remorselessly, often for days on end.

So I realised that my crisis had been answered. I don't want to be young or go out any more, because I have no desire or motivation ever to drink again.

"I am perfectly fine with being old and even technically 'boring'," I thought, as I coughed up clear bile for the fourth time that day, "if it means I never have to go through this again."

So I settled down to an evening on the sofa, watching films about people getting married and having babies. And by the time my boyfriend came home from work, I was fine.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The old 1,000 Greek drachma notes and current 20 euros  

Greece debt crisis: History shows 'new drachma' is nothing to fear

Ben Chu
David Cameron leaves Number 10 to speak at Parliament  

Tunisia attack: To prevent more bloodshed we must accept that containment has not worked

Patrick Cockburn
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue