On Growing Older

On Growing Older

Back when I was compelled to attend church, I used to sit there and wonder when I was going to get it. The big lightning bolt from God. When was it going to happen to me? I would look around at the pews and see all the rapt faces, or would attend youth group events and wonder if I was being an asshole or just impatient about everything. While I didn’t have any beef with Jesus – he seemed like a nice guy – there was never a moment where I felt “His Love” or “His Spirit” or anything like that. I’d ask Jesus into my heart, repetitively, hoping that something would work on me, that I’d suddenly appreciate praise songs played on acoustic guitars or see how the Old Testament illuminated some insight on my life’s woes, but it never seemed to take.

So it was very lucky for me to be done with the whole notion of The Invisible. As if this world weren’t enough on its own.

But in the same way, I keep waiting to become a sensible adult. A Grown-Up. For my age to happen to me. Become someone who knows how a furnace works. Someone who has the proper dress for a funeral and a trench coat with a belt. Someone who nods solemnly in all instances and doesn’t have bitten-down fingernails. Someone who thinks gardening is good for the soul and would gladly read Steinbeck or poems about birds.

I read once that Freud claimed that everyone in their minds was perpetually 23. I have no data to back up this claim, or if he even said that, but I turned 37 a few days ago and I don’t even feel like I’m 23. Most days I feel like I’m barely 15.

Part of me worries about this. Like, maybe something terribly grave has yet to happen to me but once it happens, chastened by What A Bitch Life Is, I will grimly stop cursing and listening to Katy Perry and leering at shirtless male joggers. I’ll stop saying, “you know?” and “OH MY GOD” and “grody” all the time. I will Grow Up. I will read Harper’s magazine and learn to taste the peat in whiskey and the oak notes in wine and buy a blazer at Talbots and speak knowledgeably about  long-term care insurance.

Part of me never wants to change, though. I want to blow raspberries at anything serious-minded. I want to avoid doing things that Grown-Ups do, like going on cruises and bird-watching and banging on about my child’s development. I want to read books about werewolves and vampires and stupid high school hi-jinks and spend my summers in flip-flops and listen to my teenage students talk about whatever springs to their minds and pretend my dog can talk and never mow the lawn or look at a newspaper. I want to get tattoos, I want to get laid, I want to be inappropriate for the rest of my days, hallelujah, world without end, amen.

6 Comments

  • Holly on Sep 16, 2011 Reply

    On a related note, I love to hang out wiht you and pretend we are still in college and eat licorice and we do nothing and ignore our kids and read magazines and run errands together like we have nothing better to do with our lives…so, no, you should not grow up and feel okay with that. the end.

  • Carrie on Sep 07, 2011 Reply

    Ohhhhhh…now I get it.

    I wear some awful get-ups to bed, but nothing that THIN. Sweet merciful moses.

  • DanYell Stedman on Sep 07, 2011 Reply

    Whatever, it makes me think of someone else we know who wheres a see through nightgown. Honest to God, that is what I envision you wearing.

  • Carrie on Sep 06, 2011 Reply

    IT’S A NIGHTSHIRT!

  • DanYell Stedman on Sep 06, 2011 Reply

    Screw the belted trench coat & Talbots blazer you have a nightgown. That is some serious grown up business.

    I feel the same way. When I catch myself doing grown up stuff it makes me feel weird.

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