Getting old is a Manila expanding folder

I remember stumbling on my parent’s office when I was a kid. I was probably playing Power Rangers, or Dinosaur Time-Traveller, or Volcano Detective or some other Lynchian only child fantasy. The point is, I had discovered this bland, quiet room right in the middle of an adventure. Draws and draws of Manila folders, marked “tax” or “vehicle” or “house” or some other intensely boring phrase. I was confused and slightly ashamed of just how plain and significantly adult it all was. It was like visiting Disneyland and accidentally stumbling on the scaffolding behind all the pretty pictures.

Now, I found myself sitting on the floor, sticking little tabs to a Manila expanding folder. “TAX”. “VEHICLE”. “FINES/INFRINGEMENTS”. “OTHER SHIT”. My back hurts from hunching over the fucking thing, slotting in years of numbers in letters – some in understandable order, some not – under those little tabs, covered in my terrible handwriting.

2014-09-24 11.15.33

It’s been a bit of a concession to myself, buying this folder and heaving the piles of paper around my room into it. It’s me telling myself, in at least a small measure, that it’s time to take on all that boring responsibility. The mid-20’s are a pretty difficult time, I’ve discovered. No-one really told me this. Whether I’ve wanted to or not, I’ve often found myself looking back at the last five years or so, and going, “did I really do what I wanted to do? Am I happy with where I’ve reached?” Not in a sad, “I REGRET EVERYTHIIIIING” kind of way, but more with a sense of muted optimism, knowing I’m still young and can still learn from mistakes.

The folder is bright sky blue, and clashes violently with everything else in my room. I think that’s the one concession to my younger self. It says, “Yes, this is a receptacle of crushing responsibility, confusing bureaucracy and numbing boredom, but it’s the colour of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber.”

 

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