I’m not sure when growing up transitions to getting older, but I think I’m in that stage now. Later this year will mark 30 years that I’ve walked the planet, but I think reading this blog post by one of the high school students from my work drove home the realization that soon the joke I have of what I will do when I grow up will move to absurd.
But even when the joke is absurd, I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m grown up. Maybe it’s because I’ve looked pretty much the same (with the exception of the length of and amount of gray in my hair, and the addition of glasses) since my sophomore of high school. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always been told I’m an old soul (though less frequently as I add years).
I don’t really know. How does one every know when they’ve grown up? Based on the social milestones passed? Or do you just wake up one day and realized you’ve finally grown up? Or perhaps you grow up when you realize you aren’t invincible and that death is a part of life. (If that is it, then I think I realized that early enough that it’s part of my life already so perhaps I’ve always been getting older and never growing up.)
I’m not sure that I want to grow up. Not because I have a Peter Pan complex, but because I think that if I felt like I’d grown up, I wouldn’t have any new goal to continue striving for. I’m content with who I am, yet there are still many things I’d like to do. That transition to getting older seems so final, and I’m not ready for final. I don’t even like making solid plans longer than a month or so. And even then, I only solidify what I have to. Like plane tickets to visit friends.
And perhaps this random collection of thoughts stems from nostalgia that comes with age.
Or maybe I’m just getting old.
Do you ever have those moments where you can’t even think about what you have to do when the sun rises (or whatever time your day starts) without your breath catching?
I have them more often than I would like. And, through the years, I’ve developed lots of coping skills, but they’re only good if I recognize fast enough that I’m either in the midst of, or on the brink of, one of those times. Like Tamaflu’s prime effective window is with in 2 days of getting the flu.
This one snuck up on me. I’ve been really good about writing in my journal (which is vital to my mental health) as of late. But I realized yesterday, when a non-issue at my work became a thing in my head, that I’m(hoping) in the middle of one of those times.
When my hair was long, I would randomly cut it during these times. But now I keep my hair short, I’d probably get the same looks Debra gets in Empire Records. I wouldn’t cut it out of frustration with my hair (honestly my hair is one thing I’m vain about), but because my hair and its length were solidly within my control. Having that element of control when everything else feels out of control continues as one of my favorite pet illusions.
But I didn’t have that. I did what I will apparently always turn to – travel.
I planned 2 trips for the next 6 weeks in 1 day. I’m going to visit friends and leave my current life behind for just a moment, because the bell jar is beginning to close in, and I need to breathe. I am trying very hard not to plan the details of my trips. I have my transportation. I have places to stay. And other than that, I’ll leave it to the mood that takes me at the time.
Because when my coffee cups pile up, it’s time to get out of dodge for a minute and hopefully learn what life holds by stepping out of my life. When I come back, my hope rests on having the energy then to face the next work day.
So I’m off on grand adventures. Or at least mini mental health retreats. Because no one wants FAFSA advice from a crazy person.
On the hike the other day, we ended up at this waterfall. We’d crossed the streams several times, and while watching everyone, including myself, balance on rocks, I had an epiphany.
I am learning how to accept the fragility of beginnings and learning how to give them the space they need to solidify. And though I knew beginnings were tricky, what I learned while navigating the wobbly rocks is that sometimes the second step is sometimes even trickier.
Because the second step requires the first step to have been stable. If the first step crossing the water on slick rocks isn’t solid, it usually results in a fall into the water when you shift your weight to continue your journey. And these falls can result in cuts and bruises or broken bones, if you’re particularly uncoordinated.
Falling and dealing with the resulting pain would normally be enough to keep me from trying (I really hate pain), but if I never take the first step, I miss out on all the fun and adventure on the other side of the river. I don’t want to simply stand in the place where I am or where I was; I want to stand in a new place. I know that the new place might not be better than where I’m currently standing, but I’ll never know if I don’t visit. And sometimes the trick to making the second step successful is making the third step faster to build momentum so that the steps take care of themselves.
And if I fall in the water, at least I’m en route to a new place and on an adventure. The journey begins whenever you step outside your door, and you never know where the second step will take you – possibly to the treasure chamber of a dragon.
So I will take the second step. And the third. And see where I end up, even if it means walking through the Mines of Moria or the Wasteland. Because sometimes the only way home is through a gate that was never there before that requires a second step to reach.
I haven’t written in awhile, and I was wondering to myself why I stopped obsessively writing here.
I still love writing. I still think and process information best with either a keyboard or pen and paper handy. I still think of myself as a writer more than anything else.
But it’s been a long time since I posted.
Sure, I got promoted to full-time just in time for the craziest part of our work year, and I went on vacation, and I’m moving. But still, no thoughts to process and post on my blog? Just when people started commenting more and being involved in the conversation here? How lame of me.
And why would I let the other things get in the way of my writing? I’ve published through more stressful times than my job is currently or has been in the near past. To say I’m too busy simply functions as an excuse everyone will accept without question.
But I finally figured out one major underlying, and rather bizarre, reason for my neglect: I have an audience. View full article »