• Ash Syms

Goodie Goodie Gum Drops


When I lived in Thailand, oh I don't know, approximately 274 years ago, give or take a year. All I want was to fit in and have a normal life. A house, a mortgage, 2.5 kids, a 9-5 job. All the things I thought I was suppose to want. Nothing more, nothing less.


Growing up it seemed like you had to pick something. It was black and white. Do you want to be a farmer or a lawyer? Am I going to be a mother or have a career. I believed the notion that I had to live what felt like a very limited life.


Something seemingly small shook that reality the other day, I mean I knew it but I hadn't really thought about it. I was looking at all the bright and creative art on Luca's classroom walls and spotted a bar graph, you know the ones. Well their topic was "What is your favourite ice-cream flavour?" There were a few choices. Strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, blueberry and goodie goodie gum drops. The latter being the definite winner. Chocolate and strawberry had a couple of votes and vanilla had none. I thought nothing of this until around 2am the next morning when the house was quiet and still - right at that grim time of night when your body says sleep and your brain says let's party - anyway, we all know five year olds minds are amazingly unconventional and creative so I think they were on to something when they voted for goodie goodie gum drops over vanilla. Who the hell would want vanilla when you could have goodie goodie gum drops?! I thought. As adults we seems to loose that creative spark. We settle and accept vanilla. It's easy to be vanilla, everyone likes vanilla but does anyone actually want vanilla?!


So at around 2:30am (with the cat taking up all the usable sleeping space and my husband snoring so loudly I legitimately thought about smothering him) I realised that if you think pretty averagely, you will in fact be pretty fucking average. Hardly a revelation. Josh thinks that because I am 5 years younger than him my brain thinks at a rate of 5 years slower than his. He takes the rubbish bins out - so I'll entertain him.


So why haven't you mentioned this before Josh? I mean, I know everyone is ordinary and that's okay but I want to do some bloody extraordinary things in my life, so I better start thinking extraordinarily hadn't I?! Bingo. For someone who asks me how to work the cooktop in his own house he is quite a smart man.


One thing about living a life less ordinary is that you will be criticised. I have been criticised about lots of things from moving cities too often, making my children change schools, not working a 'proper' job and selling and buying houses every 5 mins (it's actually once a year but who's counting).


But you know what...I genuinely don't give a shit.


If I want to built my own house from sticks and stones using my bare hands I can. Or if I want to walk around all day dressed as Lady Gaga I can do that too. Maybe not at the same time because building a house whilst wearing a dress made of meat would not be at all practical.


I want to do as much as I can in the time that I have. It doesn't have to be conventional and it certainly doesn't have to be the same as the life everybody else is living. And the great part is you don't have to be perfect. No one is, we all know that, so there is no pressure to be perfect at anything. Just jump in, be happy and learn from the countless mistakes you will make along the way, that is the only requirement.


I can be a Mum of four. I can travel. I can work a creative job I love. I can be a runner. I can have a successful marriage. Will it be hard work. Hell yes. But once you realise you don't have to have just one identity you can work your ass off and have it all. Whatever "it all" is to you.


So basically what I'm trying to say is that if you see me posting a lot it doesn't mean my kids aren't being feed. Because by my new way of thinking, with a little help here and there, I can do everything I want in this life.


So I'm going to start taking some risks. Start ticking some things off the list. Probably failing a whole heap along the way but coming out the other end with so much more than I would have if I'd just lived for the approval of people I don't even know or like.


Right, I'm off to pick Archie up from kindy and it's hot so I think we will get an ice-cream at the dairy on the way home. I think I'll choose goodie goodie gum drops. Yes, excellent choice.







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Ash Syms is a photographic artist. Her style is emotive, raw and inspired by the beauty of life and documenting the ordinary everyday. She specialises in families and newborns.

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