Sunday, April 3, 2011
I've recently had a hard time keeping track of my age. It's not that I can't remember how old I am, more like I think of my age as staying constant while everyone around me seems to keep getting younger in comparison. I remember, as a kid, thinking that 40 was ancient...now those are my peers. And all these athletes, actors, musicians that everyone wanted to grow up and be like--it's too late. We grew up, and now they're all younger than us. It sunk in a little more, going back to my college town to visit people over spring break this past week, just how much my life has evolved in the four years since I graduated. I could walk around campus and not look so different from all the students, but then I'd sit down and file my taxes while my cousin plowed through abstract algebra homework, or design curriculum while my sister's friends stopped by the dorm room to talk about boys. And then I came home and spent a very productive day doing all sorts of grown-up-feeling things: getting new rotors in the car, installing new wiper blades, replacing light bulbs, analyzing the month's finances, buying a pitchfork for turning the compost pile and picking up a load of free manure for the garden. And it felt wonderful. I still get nostalgic sometimes for college days, sure, but I have no desire to actually go back and live them again. Just this morning I came across a pile of emails from the spring of my senior year of college, and just looking through them brought back those gut feelings of uncertainty, possibility but instability, the stress and pressure of making the decisions about jobs and relationships and location after college that would shape the rest of my life. The dread of saying goodbye to friends, family, community, of entering into entirely unfamiliar territory. Korea, Botswana, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Honduras? Life ahead was a thousand question marks. It took me a couple seconds sitting here to remind myself to breathe, to relax, to remember that I don't have to deal with any of that right now--and that all of those tough decisions brought me right here. And this is a very fulfilling place to be right now. Real. Rooted. And don't worry, I'll still go play kickball with a bunch of other grown-ups in the park tomorrow. We're never too old to stop having some little-kid fun.