Catharsis | On “Friends’ Weddings”

Catharsis: noun  ca·thar·sis  \ kə-ˈthär-səs \
1 a : purification or purgation of the emotions (such as pity and fear) primarily through art

b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
2 : elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression

I’ve always been the person who over-thinks things. The person who is indecisive because of this. The person who worries about whether what she has to say is worthwhile, or whether it’s whiny, or problematic, or just plain self-indulgent. Over-thinking is not a bad thing. But it does lead to a tendency to bottle things up and to let them fester, not expressing them, and thereby not releasing any tension they cause. My “cure” for this is a form of catharsis, my own personal brand of therapy, you might say, and since we live in a digital age it looks like I will be making the utterly foolish decision to put said thoughts onto the Internet instead of telling them to a licensed professional. But I’d like to be honest on this blog and I’d like this blog to be a true and accurate reflection of who I am… and who I am is sometimes self-centred and in dire need of a means of expulsion. So here we are, a new series of blog posts called Catharsis. I don’t know how frequent they will be, I don’t know how worthwhile they will be for anyone else reading them, but I know they will help me. And that’s kind of the point.


This past weekend was the start of what will surely be a lifetime of “friends’ weddings”.

Being at a friend’s wedding is… strange. It’s filled with the usual traditions, the usual obligatory “do you take this woman” and “do you take this man” etc., the usual toasts at the reception and inevitable drunken dancing that follows. But there’s something different about realising you’re at your very first “friend wedding”, as opposed to “family wedding”. There’s something different about realising someone your own age, someone you were at school with, someone who you joked around in English class with, is old enough and mature enough to not only consider committing to someone else long-term but also following through on that promise in front of a whole chapel full of people.

It comes from a place of genuine happiness – a sense of delight that your friend has found someone they love so much that they’re willing to enthusiastically vow to stay faithful for for the rest of their life. Words can’t express how amazing it is to see a friend you love dearly be so happy and settled in their relationship and their life. To catch their eye after the ceremony and witness how overwhelmed and startled, but also happy, they look.

But then, there’s the inevitable off-note as the concern starts creeping in. Wait. How on earth did we get here?! How did we get to the age and place in life where weddings are happening? When did I blink and miss the start of my transition into being an allegedly functioning adult? Oh… wait… I didn’t miss it because I’m not “there” yet, wherever “there” is. But my friends are and, as ever, it looks like I’ll be living vicariously through them as they get “there”.

“There” is where “we’ve moved in together” doesn’t sound weird.
“There” is where a “we’re having a baby” doesn’t sound weird.
“There” is where “we’re getting married” doesn’t sound weird.

My friends are “there” and I couldn’t be more delighted for them. But I can’t truthfully (even in my wildest dreams) imagine a time when I’ll be “there” so, instead, I guess I’ll be over “here”, watching from the sidelines – and, I presume, often from the pews of churches.


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Catharsis | The Twentysomething Acceleration Effect

Catharsis: noun  ca·thar·sis  \ kə-ˈthär-səs \
1 a : purification or purgation of the emotions (such as pity and fear) primarily through art

b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
2 : elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression

I’ve always been the person who over-thinks things. The person who is indecisive because of this. The person who worries about whether what she has to say is worthwhile, or whether it’s whiny, or problematic, or just plain self-indulgent. Over-thinking is not a bad thing. But it does lead to a tendency to bottle things up and to let them fester, not expressing them, and thereby not releasing any tension they cause. My “cure” for this is a form of catharsis, my own personal brand of therapy, you might say, and since we live in a digital age it looks like I will be making the utterly foolish decision to put said thoughts onto the Internet instead of telling them to a licensed professional. But I’d like to be honest on this blog and I’d like this blog to be a true and accurate reflection of who I am… and who I am is sometimes self-centred and in dire need of a means of expulsion. So here we are, a new series of blog posts called Catharsis. I don’t know how frequent they will be, I don’t know how worthwhile they will be for anyone else reading them, but I know they will help me. And that’s kind of the point.


People say never compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 10. I’m paraphrasing completely but in a nutshell, that means that you shouldn’t compare your own life to someone else’s because even if they seem to be at the same point in life, they’re probably not. Their stories might just have a slightly more squished up timeline, their denouement and conclusion might come before yours, and you don’t know this by simply comparing and contrasting.

I used to be a big believer in this idea. I’m not so sold on it any more.

You see, when you hit your twenties something I have dubbed The Twentysomething Acceleration Effect happens. It will happen to some people, it won’t happen to others, and it will create a gap in experience that is difficult to breach. People who you thought to be ‘at the same stage’ in life will suddenly seem to be miles ahead. And it will happen what feels like overnight.

I like to pride myself on my empathy. Thanks to a rich childhood full of books of every type, I’ve lived in fictional worlds alongside characters both alike and unlike myself. This means that I’d like to say I can ‘think myself’ into quite a lot of points of view – I can imaginatively walk quite a few miles in different shoes, all in my head. But, as I get further into my twenties, I’m beginning to be unable to wear those metaphorical shoes because of said Twentysomething Acceleration Effect. For those unaware of the term (and let’s face it, I just came up with it, so why would you know?), I’ll explain…

You will have witnessed, if not knowingly, The Twentysomething Acceleration Effect in action. Symptoms include logging into Facebook and seeing yet another proposal post. It’s scrolling through a friend’s Instagram and seeing a sonogram. It’s hearing a couple of friends talk about house-hunting for their very first house together. It’s witnessing these things whilst you sit alone, with your biggest responsibility being putting up a blog post to maintain your regular posting schedule on your mediocre blog, and your biggest worry in life being whether to have pizza or fajitas for tea tonight.

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