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