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‘Over the road’


Diary of a Home Bird
Ciara Galvin

THERE are some telling signs that you’re getting old. A wrinkle here and there, a grey hair sprouting and then there’s literally being told.
While travelling around South America I was partial to the guessing game, when fellow backpackers would ask what age I was. Nine times out of ten I was hitting the 25 to 27 age bracket, with one globetrotter mistakenly thinking I was a fresh faced 24-year-old. I think he needed to go to an optometrist, but nonetheless, I was still delighted with the mistake.
There is something disconcerting about all of the sudden realising you’re in your final year of your twenties, there’s something even more disconcerting realising you’re nearly half way through that year. I remember as a round-faced 21-year-old talking about ‘the big 30’.
“What would we do?” A girls’ trip to Vegas, a local shindig with my nearest and dearest? Now though, I’m looking for a DeLorean and a shot of botox! Also, this week’s column marks Diary of a Home Bird’s fifth anniversary. Where has the time gone?
Partying in Dublin recently (still thinking I’m 21), I was basically told I was as old as the hills by two people in one day. In Marks and Spencer’s picking up a cheeky bottle of red, I went to the checkout to be met by a friendly cashier asking me for ID.
I duly obliged, taking it as a compliment and proudly produced my Garda issued ‘black ID’. One of the very first official cards I got as an ‘adult’. I’ve lost phones, jackets, even runners, but never this card. One look at it and he exclaimed: “Jesus, this is old. I mean, really old. This is so old places don’t even accept it as ID anymore.”
Pink faced I said: “Okay, cheers for making me feel ancient” and off I went. Later that night, attending a thirtieth birthday (that’s what I do now), I was asked for ID for a second time, this time by the doorman. Looking at the defunct identity card, he began laughing and I set myself up for what was coming next. “You are older than me,” he said. I quickly grabbed the card. “Yes, probably old enough to be your mother,” and off I went.
These events followed on from attending an eighteenth birthday party a week previously. The eighteenth was that of my Godchild’s, yes, my Godchild, Ciara. I was an eleven-year-old baba, appointed guardian of a baba. Now, Ciara is nearly as tall as me and will be sitting her Leaving Cert next year. Unlike most parties I attend, I wasn’t stuck in the thick of it. I was assigned to where the adults were, discussing how those in attendance would ‘catch their death’ with their ensembles. Back in those heady days of my early twenties, I remember being able to fully function the day after a party and one such day even getting ready for the prestigious Queen of the Lakes contest. Myself and my friend were in the capable hands of Madre who was looking after our hair for the event, when my mother asked why another girl would not enter the competition, my friend got her sayings mixed up and replied: “Ah she’s over the road.” Now, I too am “Over the road.”
A quote rings in my ears though: “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

> In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.