When I moved house, I left a lot behind. I left my keyboard (predictably coated in an inch of dust anyway), my toolkit (I don’t know how to use any of the weird heavy metal things inside it – banging works. I bang things.) I left my alarm clock. I left my family (a WhatsApp group doesn’t quite fill that void and no one can beat my mum’s roasties or my sister’s ability to play fight at the age of 27). They’re on holiday without me right now so I can safely compliment them without being discovered.
I left my cat too. That was hard. She’s really cute.
Anyway. My point. I left all of these things intentionally for the sake of a job, a life by the sea, growing up, opportunities, a puppy and so on. I miss them all. Except. The alarm clock – the only forgotten object. It took time to realise that I had even forgotten it.
Let me explain. I am a deep sleeper. But not just ‘sometimes I can sleep through a thunderstorm’ deep. Think bottom of the ocean. Think Pizza Hut base. Think Chris Martin, after 4 joints. I sleep with the curtains open, I sleep with 2 alarms set, I change my alarm every few weeks so that I don’t get used to the sounds and sleep through them. It’s almost a medical problem, how deeply I can sleep.
So now, with no alarm clock, why do I always wake up an hour before I need to?
Well, it could be the avocado in the fridge that I can’t wait to spread on toasted multiseed wholemeal bread. It could be the chance to go to work and do a challenging job I worked so hard to get. It could be the prospect of the sea view at the top of the hill, the fresh salty breeze. Maybe it’s the temptation of puppy cuddles. Or the discovery of coconut milk in decaf coffee (try it, try it now.)
Maybe it’s all of the above. You don’t have to drop everything and go travelling to have an adventure and you don’t need to get a job in the city at a bank to grow up and settle down. There are little things in life, such as chip butties on beaches or vegetables on a BBQ, such as waking up to silence, that are the real big deal.
‘Big life changes’, ‘huge milestones’ – they just don’t compute. I can’t see myself in 10 years (and thank god for that) but I can see tomorrow, eating a lunch of spinach and falafel, on a beach. I can see a phone ringing, with a friend’s name onscreen. And I can see myself waking up in a bed, wanting to get straight out of it. Why can’t a big change just be a bunch of small ones? And why can’t settling down be a massive adventure?