In which the cosmos sends me into my quarter-life crisis.

I turned 20 a few weeks ago, so my friends here wanted to go out and celebrate.

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Yeah. I’m no less childish at 20 than I was at 19. Listen, I just really like DDR!

Still, I know that 20 is supposed to be a monumental age. I’ve beaten teenage pregnancy. I’ve survived for two decades. By this time, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft.  Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice. Charles Lindbergh learned to fly.

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To worsen my existential crisis, I went stargazing with my residential college, the International House. IH has their own log cabin in Belanglo State Forest, about 2 hours out of Sydney.

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When not in use by residents, the log cabin can be rented out by other groups. For example, the MacArthur Astronomical Society regularly stays in the cabin. In fact, they were there when our 40+ people bus pulled into the woods.

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They had their own telescopes and everything! These guys aren’t joking around– each scope is worth thousands of dollars.

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We arrived at the cabin a bit early, so we had some time to kill before nightfall. The International House organized a scavenger hunt to keep us occupied.

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And, in the style of the Aussies, we had a barbecue dinner.

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The sun began to set. Thankfully, we had a completely clear, cloudless night. The outside of the cabin is only lit with red lights, since they interfere less with your night vision. So the stars slowly came into view…

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…and we were even able to see planets.

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It was incredible! I’ve never seen that many stars in my life. I wished I could bring the sky home with me.

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I thought the photos came out rather well.

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It was a breathtaking sight. Especially since I’ve lived all my life in either the suburban sprawl or the city. There’s way too much light pollution there to see much of anything. There’s a Calvin and Hobbes strip on the awe of stargazing, actually:

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So. Since I was stargazing, I was obligated to contemplate the difficult questions.

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One year older, zero years wiser.

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9 thoughts on “In which the cosmos sends me into my quarter-life crisis.

  1. I’ve never actually played DDR, never really got around it. But yeah, did you enjoy the BBQ? Sometimes they have sausage sizzles out the front of Bunnings; I love sausage sizzles. I’ve been to a bunch before, like at carnivals and schools.

    Those pictures of the stars were gorgeous, btw! But yeah, I doubt that many people would live their lives too much differently under the stars. A little more humble maybe.

    I’ve also lived in suburbia most of my life, but I’ve also been on trips before. Once my mum and I were on a roadtrip and we were looking for a place to pull over and spend the night. The first place was a rest place where all the stars shone down in exquisite details, and I just laid down in the car looking up and admiring them.

    But mum said it was too dark there, so she moved on to another rest stop where the lights shone in my eyes when I laid to sleep there.

    • Aw yes, I always love barbecues! They’re usually just a summery, 4th of July thing in the States, so I like how Australians seem to whip them out so often.

      Aww, that’s a shame about moving rest stops, though. One time my aunt, my cousin and I were vacationing out in one of America’s national parks. We stayed the night in a hotel, where my cousin and I tried to sneak out to go stargazing– but my aunt caught us, and brought us back inside for fear that we’d get kidnapped or something. So I was very glad to see the stars here!

  2. Happy birthday, Vy! I suppose it’s a good opportunity to remind you that your blog is wonderful and always a fun read.

    Out of curiosity, could you see the Milky Way like that with your naked eye or did it only show up with the long exposure? I’ve never been anywhere where I could see it at all. If you set a long exposure around here, you mostly just get a red glow that looks like a sunrise… except it’s the lights from the next town over…

    • We could actually see the Milky Way with the naked eye. It was amazing! The photos I took are actually a pretty good representation of exactly what we saw that night. The stars are a bit brighter, but we really did see everything in the pictures.

      And, thank you! I’m glad you enjoy my blog. You keep it up, too– I’m always so impressed by your devotion to your update schedule!

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