Posts tagged with "growing old"

this modern love breaks me

My vice-of-the-moment is instant decaf cof­fee with loads of sugar and French vanilla non-dairy creamer; a chem­i­cal sludge I have every morn­ing like dessert for break­fast. That and long show­ers (and maybe a bit of the sauce every now and then) are the only things I indulge in nowadays.

It’s a sign that instinct has taken me over. I do what I want, and I’m start­ing to sus­pect that you’re an adult when that also hap­pens to be the right thing. Not when you hit an arbi­trary age, or have kids, or a career, or a house. It’s when you start to take con­trol because part of grow­ing up is under­stand­ing that you’re respon­si­ble for the results in your life. When you dis­cover that there’s no room in this place for old-school roman­tics, so you’ve gotta play the game. When you lose your inno­cence after accept­ing that the world isn’t the way you thought it was or the way you wanted it to be.

Still, it’s unset­tling to be ven­tur­ing ahead amidst such uncer­tainty. I’ve learned that you can’t wait for every­thing to be per­fect in your life before tak­ing a risk, or you’ll be wait­ing for­ever. There will always be cycles of stag­nancy and change, calm and storm, hurt­ing and heal­ing. I don’t mind the changes, but part of me resents the inno­cence lost. Quixotism has always been a part of me, some­thing that’s defined so many of my thoughts and pas­sions and work. It’s like I’ve lost a part of myself — and a part I’ve always liked — to mes­sages unre­turned and the days in between.

a short break in adolescence

I’ve been feel­ing like an adult.

This isn’t due to my fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ties or my tidy home or any other things I used to use as a mea­sure for matu­rity, but from feel­ing like every­thing makes sense. Like I have all the answers the way adults seem to do, because I can see the big pic­ture, I under­stand what truly mat­ters, and I don’t sweat the small things anymore.

It’s only now that I’m at a point where I feel like a grown up. Like this is finally who I’ll be for the rest of my life.

That’s not to say I’ve fin­ished grow­ing, that I’m not human or infal­li­ble, but there aren’t the same strug­gles or changes that I used to have, so my emo­tions and atti­tudes have evened out.

For a while I won­dered if I’d just become another turning-30 cliché, but I real­ized it was never about age. Various things have brought me to this matu­rity, from con­ver­sa­tions to rela­tion­ships to trips far away. It all hap­pened to be around the begin­ning of a new decade in my life.

Maybe I’ve been feel­ing this way only because things are going so well. It’ll take some hard­ship to test how far I’ve truly come as an adult, but until then I’ll try to live like a child, cause too often youth is wasted on the young.

30

I turned 30 in France. This wasn’t planned. It wasn’t even an excuse to buy the ticket, when I made the deci­sion to fly there so many months ago.

But when I was at a din­ner party that day, speak­ing with a woman who pol­ished her English from a year of doing her degree in London (and had an appro­pri­ately posh British accent mixed in with her French), she guessed I was 30.

Amazing”, I said, “To the day.” She had to con­firm, “Aujourd’hui?”, and I couldn’t stop her from hush­ing the other con­ver­sa­tions so she could announce it to the table.

portrait at age 30

Kisses from the babies, the girls, and the babygurls.

They lit a thin can­dle in my banana split sun­dae, sang me Happy Birthday in two lan­guages, and plied me with expen­sive alco­hols. Earlier that day, Darren sent me an e-mail, telling me to get drunk. I didn’t let him down.

It was a far big­ger deal than I was used to, but it wasn’t hard to appre­ci­ate the atten­tion, from peo­ple I had only known for an evening or two. I thought they must have been hap­pier than me, just to have an excuse to cel­e­brate some­thing, and talk, and drink, and cheer.

No won­der peo­ple like their birth­days. No won­der peo­ple love France.

There’s no way for me to deny how sig­nif­i­cant the last year has been. At one point, I finally felt like I was the per­son I’d be for the rest of my life. Then things changed, and I fell to my low­est point. But I picked myself up, and here I am now. Still human. Still alive.

This project was a way for me to doc­u­ment my evolv­ing life and aging skin as it is now. I never knew how much I’d go through, and how much would change between each interval.

I turned 30, and I won­der who I’ll be in another day, another month, another year, another decade.

The Turning 30 Series

29 11/12: The Work in Progress

He who is not sat­is­fied with him­self will grow; he who is not sure of his own cor­rect­ness will learn many things.

—Chinese proverb

As much as I think I’ve become set­tled in my char­ac­ter and my mind­set, I still sur­prise myself with how much these con­tinue to change.

self-portrait at 29 11/12

Me and my Plushstache (hand­made with love by Shannon Gerard).

I used to think I’d finally be happy if I was a cer­tain per­son — some ide­al­ized ver­sion of myself who was inde­struc­tible, infal­li­ble, and flaw­less — but I recently real­ized that I shouldn’t see this as the goal. Instead, I should be happy with the fact that I’m not there yet, because change means evo­lu­tion and growth.

It would be folly to believe that an arrival is also an end. One should con­tinue to strug­gle, and to doubt, and to hurt, and to be a work in progress.

I turn 30 in a month, and I still don’t know who I am.

The Turning 30 Series