I was disproportionately excited about filling in my census form.
I had only ever filled in one before, and I still have vivid memories of that experience back in 2001, aged nineteen. I distinctly remember sitting on my single bed in a rented flat in Bournemouth (a one-bedroom above a newsagent’s that we made into two by building our own homemade partitions), filling in the form on behalf of myself and my flatmate at the time. It seemed such an exciting, grown-up thing to be doing!
Most importantly, it made me think about the fact that the next one would be in ten years’ time. Who knew what I would be doing then? I’d probably be married to my on-off boyfriend (I dreamily imagined writing in our occupations as ‘writer’ and ‘musician’) and we’d probably own our own house in London and have at least one child – after all, I’d be twenty-fricking-nine by then!
All this came flooding back to me with slightly alarming clarity, as I armed myself with a cup of coffee and a nice ballpoint pen and sat down to write about the 2011-version me.
Some of it was a tiny bit disappointing – I still had to tick the ‘rented accommodation’ box and the ‘no car’ box. However, I now have gas central heating, a definite step up from that chilly old flat in Bournemouth – score! Not to mention that I now live in a far more glamorous seaside city these days.
My ‘Person 2’ (yep, still just the two) was now my boyfriend of seven years (not the 2001 one, thank the lord), rather than a platonic-flatmate, and at least we could write that we had real jobs, rather than skipping that section and putting ‘student’. And even if ‘writer’ and ‘musician’ were only our unofficial part-time job titles, at least they still figured (and, yeah, I do have a type).
Most importantly, who knows what the 2021 form will hold? By then I might really be able to put ‘writer’ in the full-time occupation box; we might live in the country; I might be married rather than living in sin (not sure about that one, though); I might even have a car. Of course, I will doubtless be a much better, more successful, grown up person altogether. After all, I’ll be thirty-fricking-nine by then!