I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this, but turns out, renting a room above an Irish pub that’s rather “could be great, could be a fungal groin infection” is an excellent idea.
I do not say this because of the corner table you’ll get next to the fireplace downstairs, where you will proceed to order a traditional cottage pie (code for “scalding hot gallon of cheesy mashed potatoes”), watch a senior citizen play the piccolo with more gusto than most people make out, and bop your head expertly along to traditional Irish tunes so that passersby MIGHT JUST MAYBE think that you are a native.
(Nor do I say this because of the trio of gins you will consume, which will be from the nearby town of Dingle—which you will not giggle at when you say aloud. Most of the time.)
Rather, I tell you this because I am convinced that this—waves hands—is what every woman needs. And in large, generous doses.
Because you know what we women do? We have this nasty tendency to believe more in a former version of ourselves than the present one. We love to live in the past. We love to think about how happy we were, then, and how skinny / bubbly / unafraid / adventurous we were, then. We romanticize every bit of the person we were ten years ago, and feel like the person we are today can hardly stack up.
But can you blame us?
In an age where technology becomes obsolete as soon as you buy it, users are constantly upgrading their devices to a better, newer, faster one. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that older is bad, and getting older is bad. Honestly, how many times have you found yourself having The Thought?
“The old me,” that elusive bitch. Common variations include, “I feel like a shell of my former self,” and “I used to be more fun,” and, “when did I turn into such a monotonous cunt?”
The Thought makes you stop and consider where, by god, you went wrong. Was I better then? Was I just more innocent? Have I abandoned myself? Will I ever feel like my old self again?
Fortunately, I have a remedy for this—and yes, it begins in Ireland. Not because I’m suggesting that some rain boots and a pint of Guinness are the answer (though they definitely are sometimes), but because if you are feeling small and unhappy and miserable and stuck, it isn’t going to get better from your sofa. You can’t find your passions from your living room. And no website in the world can help you sparkle. Sparkling is a thing that happens exclusively in Mr. Clean commercials and only as the byproduct of something else.
You know where you find the old you? In places that are new. It’s counterintuitive, but I’ve never found anything else to be more true. The person you used to be? She wasn’t great because of where she was or what she was doing or what kind of hair product she was using at the time.
She was great because of who she was becoming.
If you want to upgrade yourself, upgrade your environment. Drink in new experiences like water. Find an adventure and go. And become someone you’d like to meet in a place you've never been before.
We thrive on NEW. If you think back, I’m sure you look fondly upon all of your firsts: first jobs, first cities, first apartments, first loves, and even your first traumas. But slowly but surely, the more we become stable, responsible adults, the less new we get to experience. Routine sets in. Time starts standing still. Days get longer. And there's nothing to look forward to, anymore.
This is what you must change.
Because maybe when you say “I miss the old me,” what you really mean is, “I miss what it feels like to have a future.”