(Credit to A Little Coffee for this fabulous idea)
1. When I start primary school, they discover one of my legs is longer than the other. Thankfully, I don’t have to wear those hideous orthopedic shoes, and my legs even out as I grow older. I’m still a total klutz, though.
2. I don’t know if it’s my short attention span, or simply the beginning of my incompatibility with maths, but I somehow miss the memo about “borrowing” and carrying the 1 over when doing subtraction problems. I wonder why I keep getting equations wrong. Numbers are still not my strong point…
3. By the age of about seven I have read all the Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books the libraries stock. I’ve also written a series of “books”, illustrated by my dad, about a girl called Molly. She’s named after my favourite doll. She does things I think big kids do, like drive around in their boyfriend’s Chevy and hang out at the ice cream parlour.
4. When I’m ten, I get glasses, after struggling to read the board for a year or two. My mum says I won’t be pretty anymore. They’re big, huge and round – they make me look like an owl. I hate them with a passion, and for a while I take to only wearing them when I’m in the classroom. The rest of my days, consequently, are literally a blur.
5. I’m 13. I want to be Michelle Branch. I convince my mother to get me an acoustic guitar. I start writing angsty songs.
6. I’m 16. I’m in love. My parents hate him. I couldn’t care less.
7. I get my first job, working at a cafe, the summer before Year 12. I work my way up from washing dishes to working the till and assisting with opening/closing. I decide I want an electric guitar, and get a second job at a call centre working 3-4 nights a week after school, along with my weekend cafe shifts. In a few months I’ve saved almost $1000 and proudly swipe my eftpos card at MusicWorks where I change my hard-earned money for a red Ibanez RG 170 and 20-watt Ashton amp.
8. I am 17. I leave home halfway through a school year. When I move into my first flat with a friend, my new cellphone is stolen off the coffee table on the very first night.
9. Shortly after my big breakup, I meet T at a party. Technically, we’ve known each other for almost a decade, having attended the same schools for years. But I was a nerd, and he was more of a troublemaker. We’re sitting around in a circle, and I brainstorm a list of qualities I want in my next boyfriend. He fits them all.
10. Three months later, he leaves for the army. We don’t break up, to my surprise. Instead, I go down to visit him a couple of times while he’s away. He calls me one day in June to say he’s leaving, and will be back in Auckland in time to take me to the Year 13 ball.
11. I sit my driver’s licence, four years late. It takes me two attempts to pass. I still think reversing around the corner is a stupid and dangerous move that I will never have to use in my life.
12. When I turn 21, my amazing friends rally round and organise the most outstanding day ever for me. I am too emotionally retarded to properly express my gratitude.
13. We finally move out of our cold, damp, dodgy house and away from the local neighbourhood scum. Heinous flatmate’s outstanding bills and damages/cleaning costs leave me $880 out of pocket. He says he will pay me back, and doesn’t. I decide it’s not worth my time to try and squeeze blood from a stone. I vow to never head up a house again.
15. Two years later we say our vows in a small, desanctified chapel. Less than a week after our quick, small and mostly bullshit-free wedding, we hop on a plane and spend the next six months backpacking around the globe.
16. I finally leave journalism, like my countless overworked and underpaid predecessors. I never look back.
17. For the first time, I negotiate my salary. It’s up there with the most awkward experiences of my life.
19. After 10 years, I realise the importance of being willing to walk away from a relationship. Always put yourself first, no matter what.
20. I manage to buy a house. Still pinching myself.