What do I want to be when I grow up?
As a 26 year old, I honestly still do not consider myself a man, at all. In my opinion a man is someone that can care for his woman / children or can build a home or any type of building that contains planning with their bare hands. I am just a guy. I am a guy who can barely open beers with my soft hands, can build majestic pillow forts, cried during “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” and someone who stands around and tries to look like he knows exactly what other guys are talking about when the conversation is about cars.
I am honestly not what anyone would consider a man of any sorts. I have the same tools as a man downstairs, (albeit smaller), but still, no man. I can’t grow a beard in a week and I do not own a chainsaw. My dad is a man, my older brother is a man, but I am not. I’m an asshole – perhaps, yes, but someone who can be relied on – fuck all. I am about as reliable as Eskom. I dream of being the perfect boyfriend and man but I do not even have a car. I do not even know how to properly iron clothes or how many blondes it takes to screw in a light bulb. The worst of all this is that at the age of 26, I still have no idea who I am or what I want to be.
You’re 6 years old, staring at the piece of candy the creepy adult is holding before you, and he asks that 1 question you already despise even though you do not even know what despise means, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Even at the age of 6, your mind races to give a good answer, because even if adults believe that the answer you give comes naturally, it’s all just a bullshit lie because by this age we are all professionals in manipulating and convincing people with our “pure thoughts and intentions” and you know you’ll get rewarded with something if you say something cute or admirable. So if you say a doctor/president/vet or astronaut, you’ll get that all-important “aww” factor and get to stick your tongue out at all your cousins because now they look so, I don’t know, un-cute and you can carry on with giving yourself diabetes.
Then you turn 10 or 12 and people ask you the same questions, but they are now expecting a serious answer. You’re standing there with an ice cream busy melting over your fingers with your mind struggling to think of something and all you can come up with is the sport you are currently into most. Mine changed between being a rugby player and a skateboarder. I remember the first time I came into contact with a skateboard. My 2nd oldest brother Trevor had a skateboard. With him being 12 when I was born, he naturally raced through all the phases long before me but at this time he was 15 and I was 3. My only goal was to be as cool as him. So while he was at school I would take his skateboard, sit on it and ride it down Gate Street.
Now, allow me to describe Gate Street. Gate Street is a road about 2 blocks long but steep as fucking shit (and no, I’m not kidding). It’s the steepest road in our whole valley. So for a skateboarder or anyone looking to get fit, this was the place (and yes it still is). Believe me, daily tired and unfit people jog past my home for a week just to never be seen again or kids racing downhill with their bikes screaming as though it’s a rollercoaster.
Fast forward and it’s 2009, I’m getting a phone call from my oldest brother to find out what I want to do with my life. I am 21 years old and breast stroking in a pool of testosterone and hormones and still don’t have a clue about what I want to be or achieve when I finally grow up. So while he is speaking to me I think of the only thing that really stuck in my head for a few years: music production and sound engineering. So I answer him with that and he says “sweet” and gives me directions to a college in Hatfield to go enroll. I thought “this was it, the day I finally found my purpose and could begin molding myself into something successful”.
I didn’t want to sit in some office and work a job that I didn’t love and feel trapped and confined, I wanted to be outside and express myself. Even though I have crippling anxiety, this is where I felt comfortable, so I enrolled. For months I believed that this was where I was heading and I couldn’t be happier. The deal was that while I was working as a waiter at Crawdaddy’s that I would pay 1 half of the debt and he would pay the other half. He supported me because he was also kind of well-known in circles in the music industry and came far with being a resident DJ at Liquid State, playing live on M-Net’s “Live @ 5“ and being offered a resident DJ spot at a club in London (which he didn’t take because his bitch didn’t want him to leave).
He didn’t pay his half and one day before the final exams the lecturer pointed me out in front of the whole class and said that I couldn’t write the exam because all my fees weren’t paid yet. I felt so small and so embarrassed. I would later find out my brother spent his half of my study fund on his then unknown addiction of heroin, but after my other brother sweet talked them, I wrote exams and passed. I could never get a position at a studio though, I was rejected everywhere. This was mainly because I couldn’t do the advanced course due to zero money in my bank account.
Fast forward to today and after all of that, I am now a payroll clerk. I’m sitting in an office working a job that I do not love and feeling trapped and confined. It’s funny how life works out. Fuck knows how I got here? I spent almost a year and a half unemployed so I had to take what I could get. Obviously I came to my senses that studio work was out of the question and just one fantasy and a waste of time that should’ve just stayed that and should not have become a waste of money.
To be honest, I should have waited until now. Ja, everyone around me might have gone on to study something at that age and are now doing what they more or less enjoy but everyone differs. Some people know what they want to be when they grow up at the age of 10 or 17, I am 26 and I still have no idea. I do not want to find out what my purpose is when it’s too late because there is nothing worse than too late. I’m done with trying to find something I like and pursuing it, instead I’m going to sit back with my bottle of wine and let it find me – making bad decisions is kind of my thing after all.
I have been chasing ambitions for the last 13 years and thus far it only brought me to where I am sitting now. I’m single, living at my parents, working a job I hate and I have a semi non-existent sex life. If someone out there could pay me to go to festivals and get drunk and write about it, that would be great. In fact, here is my CV. I am Gareth Davies, born on the 21st of December in 1987. My hobbies include going to festivals, getting drunk and writing about it. Am I ever going to grow up?
Watch this space for regular updates in the Opinion category on Running Wolf’s Rant.