A Passport Is Important

In all my life the very first passport I had was obtained at the age of 19, prior to my first, only, holiday as an adult. We went to Austria, and a fun time was had by all. It was my last ever proper family holiday. It was such a moment in my life that I even wrote about it in my Youth Review 19-20.

When my passport expired in June of this year, I thought “meh”. In recent years, I have lost any interest in ever going abroad. I used to like the idea of travelling, of seeing the world, of experiencing other cultures, and generally “broadening one’s horizons”. And, I must admit, a certain degree of envy when business clients and former/ex-friends (virtually no one is my friend any more) tell me they’re off to foreign shores to relax, or do their thing.

But somehow, when the time comes to consider it all, I just go cold. When I analyse it, the only reason why a holiday sounds a good idea is to get away from the dull English weather. I fantasise about going on holiday in winter, avoiding Christmas and all that entails, to feel warm, if only for a little bit.

Unfortunately, I then get into a deeply unhelpful state. The holiday is a form of escapism. I am such a depressed individual at time that I will even deny myself escapism. I do so because I look upon escapism with an unhealthy degree of cynicism. If life is so bad that you must escape from it, then the escapism is a waste of time, because every day of your escapism you will think about exactly what it is you are escaping from, until such time as it inevitably all goes back to the way it was.

I have these existential moments regularly. My life in general is crap, and others would not tolerate it, but I don’t see it as something I wish to escape from. It is what it is. Short of a revolutionary change in my personality or outlook on life, it’s not going to change. So why bother escaping from it?

It was this length of ludicrous argument that led me to procrastinate about the passport renewal. I thought if I really needed it, to go abroad, I would then sort it out. With no holidays on the horizon, I ignored it.

But what I didn’t think about was how critical it was to have a passport as a form of ID. It had already happened once recently, when I had a problem opening a bank account. We got there in the end, so I thought it was proof I could continue to do so.

Turns out, when there is a financial transaction involving buying a house (or, rather, a plot of land) and other such fun, like solicitors, they all want some proof I am who I am. Who knew?

Not being able to drive – and the driving licence also being expired for at least two years – there has been something of a sudden halt in all activities until my new passport arrives.

And that alone caused its own saga.

Being one who over-thinks these things to the nth degree, I put enormous amounts of thought into what, exactly, I would look like on the passport photo. The passport photo that would identify me for the next 10 years. It needed to represent me well, because in 10 years time I will look back at it and think “look at poor Matt, blissfully unaware of the 10 years that lie ahead”.

So I dawdled even at this stage. I waited long enough for me to make a decision about the subject of the previous post (hair…) – and decided I would get my haircut first, then go home, wash it, reapply the useless product that I’ve started using, and then get it taken.

The plan was executed flawlessly, and I am reasonably happy with the picture. I have certainly aged in 10 years. No surprise really.

Now I must wait. But at least there’s a lot of good waiting involved. Christmas being round the corner, and all that.

207 days until 30

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