Three Weeks of Fail: On Turning 22

Welcome to Three Weeks of Fail. As you’ve probably gathered, over the next three weeks each of us will be bringing you a piece about our failure at life – the things we hoped we’d achieve, the unfortunate things we did and downright face-palm moments.

Now I’m going through a premature midlife crisis, unless of course I only live to 44 and I really hope that’s not the case. I turn 22 tomorrow (I mean *cough 21 *cough*), and I’ve achieved absolutely nothing that I hoped I would.

Drink Responsibly

So I started drinking alcohol when I was 14 (yes, I’m one of those people), and it was a depressingly regular thing for me to be found passed out on a flight of stairs or in a bush somewhere. I never quite grasped the whole ‘moderation’ thing, but I always told myself that by my late teens I would. Well, those days are gone and I still find myself drinking to excess. Staircase sleeping is a thing of the past, but a weekend without a wine or six is a tragedy indeed.

Fuzzy recollections of becoming best friends with people I’ll never speak to again, making spontaneous plans I won’t keep and finding things in my bag that aren’t mine are a regular occurrence. Just like waking up with messages from people I don’t remember meeting in the first place, which makes next time an insanely awkward experience.

This isn’t what I had planned. By 22 I was supposed to be composed, charming, elegant. And although I like to think my falling down the steps is as graceful as it could possibly be, elegance remains a foreign concept. I stumble around screaming obscene and unintelligible things, smudge my lipstick all over my face and lose more friends than I make. Not that I’m complaining (or an alcoholic!), I do have a great time dancing in what I think is an alluring manner but probably looks more like a demented chook.

Learn to Drive:

As sad as it is I still have absolutely no idea what to do with a car. You just press a button and it goes or something, right? Vehicles are alien to me – even my own two feet let me down. My car-less life consists of sardine train rides where I’m forced to talk to people who seem to spend more time talking to themselves than anyone else. And peak hour, stuck between two sweaty men, really makes me reconsider getting a license.

I did try to drive. Once. I think my family were scarred from the experience as every time I approach their cars their eyes glaze over and they start to shake. But I’m persisting, slowly. I’ve taken the online test three times now. I’ve never passed, but it totally counts.

Finish University:

In my early teens I had visions of being a successful, glamorous and educated woman by now. Unfortunately I got a bit carried away with adventures, some of them which should not be put into words ever, and dropped out of high-school a record amount of times. I never did finish, and the next couple of years consisted of attempts at TAFE and more dropping out. But, believe it or not, this thug actually made it to university and managed to complete a diploma. I may not have finished as early as I’d hoped, but I got there. Fuck knows how.

Quit Smoking:

No further comment.

Achieve Something Substantial:

Call it my Gen Y narcissism, but I always liked to think I would do something totally amazing by 22. Write a killer book and live off the profit, record an album and be an alternative yet ever-so-sweet Lorde-esque musician – you know, the usual. The best I can say is that I once caught a drumstick at a concert and kept a cactus alive for a couple of weeks.

Actually, that’s a lie. Once I wore a pair of heels and didn’t even face-plant once.

Despite my plethora of embarrassments and failures, life’s not so bad. I’m not a total loser. I may still be unable to open jars and light a gas stove without freaking out, but I’m kind of sort of getting it together. Don’t expect me to tone down on the wines, quit smoking or stop dancing like a middle-aged hippy, and maybe by 25 I’ll get there.