Growing up is hard to do

September 10th, 2010 | Tags: ,

Some days I see myself as a mostly accomplished adult. Other days I still feel like a ninteen year old struggling to find myself in the omgBigWorld. I one of those “blessed” people (if you want to call it that) who look much younger than their driver’s license says. So for a long time I felt as young as people thought I was. I related more with younger people and their care-free attitudes. I made many adult-like choices in my younger years that afforded me with the freedoms of today.

I chose not to get married young.
I chose not to have children young.
I chose not to have “those kinds” of responsibilities.

These weren’t always easy choices. I wanted the security of knowing someone would be there when I got home. Someone to cuddle on bad days. Someone’s leg to sleep on while on the couch watching movies or television. The usual Hollywood-type home life which doesn’t really exist. I know this, though it doesn’t stop me from hoping for that type of companionship someday. I still hold onto that hope even now that I’m in my 30′s.

The thing is, it always seemed to work out that I didn’t have to worry about actually growing up. I always found jobs in which I could wear jeans. There’s the usual “appropriate for work” aspect sure. No tank tops. No open-toed shoes. For the most part I’ve been lucky in that regard. Few places required that I be forced to dress up for the job, which is something I fear and loathe all at the same time. Nevermind that I absolutely abhor wearing those types of clothes no matter “how good it makes someone look” because that’s all arbitrary anyway. I don’t feel comfortable. I actually feel a bit like a doll on display. Nothing ever fits me appropriately. So it’s much more like being a Cabbage Patch Doll wearing Barbie’s clothes. It just doesn’t work. I’m bigger all in different areas that clothes are truly not tailored to fit me correctly. So things are short in the front, too long at the ankles and my underwear shows no matter how daintily I try to pick something up.

The fact remains that being able to wear jeans and t-shirts to a job has helped spoil me of sorts. I haven’t actually had to do any actual growing up. I mean, I have a helluva lot of school loan debt which will need to be paid off soon. I have credit card debt and my cell phone bill every month. Insurance for my car. Car repairs (which seem to happen a whole lot more now that I’m trying to pay for all this stuff myself and not call Daddy every time something seemingly catastrophic (it’s usually minor) happens). ┬áThose things I’m trying to handle on my own, and I haven’t been too horrible at. It means I have to learn how to juggle priorities and make sure that I don’t forget or negate other responsibilities just because I had to fork over all that money for yet another car repair (I’m looking at you $129 diagnostic fee for a check engine light).

In the midst of all of this grown-upy stuff that’s going on there’s the other side. That part of me that would love to live with my dad and not have to worry about stuff. I could have a job and a room full of yarn and it won’t matter to anyone but me. I can sit there and knit all day, get a job where I only have to work 3 days of the week and screw off the rest of the time. Dividing my time between WoW and knitting/crocheting. It would be a fabulous life.

And then I remember I’m 32.

Every now and again it hits me, that number. It reminds me that I’m not a kid anymore. That the option to live with my father is no longer an option. That I can’t opt out of being a grown up. There’s no check box to choose not to be an adult. I’m an adult, like it or not. Some days, it doesn’t seem very fair.

Don’t get me wrong. I can’t go back to being a teenager. All that angst and woe-is-me bullshit is too much. I can’t handle feeling like everything is the end of the world. Intelligent people, even mildly intelligent people, suffer from this. There’s something going on in there and the world can’t touch us, but it can kill the ever living shit out of us and make us cry and I’m going to call every single friend in my phone just to tell them about how the world is out to get me and omfgWHY!!?

See what I mean? That stuff there, I don’t miss. I remember feeling exactly like that though. I remember feeling as though I were this altruistic saint of a human, but really I was selfish and wanted everything my way. I still kind of think this way, I’m just better about actually being altruistic instead of just pretending to be that way.

Every now and again I’m struck with the reality of being an actual living breathing adult. When I look at the terrible state of my teeth and fear that I won’t have any of my own if I put it off much longer, kills me. Makes me cry sometimes. Who has the money to fix that kind of damage?! And why the fuck didn’t I listen to the dentist more when I was younger? Oh wait, I did. I brushed, flossed some, used mouth wash, etc. I did almost all of the things I was supposed to do. Oh right, genetics. Damn. Came to bite me in the ass did it? And so I weep over my teeth because that’s a bill no one but me can fess up to. I can’t blame my dad for my shitty teeth. He didn’t not brush them for me. I didn’t brush them. I didn’t take care of them. I didn’t pay attention all these years as they were rotting in my skull. And now, they have to be pulled and I’m faced with the growing reality that it’s not anyone’s fault but my own. I’d like nothing more than to blame someone else for it, like a teenager. It can be someone else’s fault, right?? I can blame, that guy, or that guy over there… and the people will smile and nod and think that I’m losing my mind.

Then there are those even more odd moments when I hear football games at the local high school (because it is right outside the window, and I wish that were an exaggeration) and I’m transported back to a time when I enjoyed going to those things. It was never about the sports, but about the socializing. I’ve grown so anti-social over the years and it seems to be getting worse as times goes on. As I get older the more and more I want to hide away and not look or talk to another human being. I see the high school kids walking down the street and there’s a pang of jealousy at their youth. A part of me that thinks about my tattoos and reflects on the reasons behind getting them. Did I get them for the attention? Do I want people to look at me and think “Oh, she must be cool” because of some deep-rooted desire to make up for all those years when I was just a face and no name in high school? It’s hard for me to know the answers to these questions. But they are fleeting thoughts that pass through my head. I wonder if people see me in the car and think if I’m a poser, or an idiot, or a retard, or question my age, or think I’m just some “kid”. Then I’m reminded of my adulthood once again while pushing the cart up and down the aisle of the grocery store making better food choices and those passing thoughts don’t matter again.

Until the next time.

I see my anime collection and I never get the urge to watch a single bit of it. I look at the files on my computer or at the VHS tapes and even some DVDs in my collection and there was a point when that stuff was very important to me. I know nothing about Naruto, and could care less about Dragonball Z. I didn’t pick up a love for Pokemon until well into my adulthood. I wonder if I’m clinging to some tiny portion of my youth. I don’t find the new animes worth my attention or time. I have no energy to be bothered by the anime and cartoons I once enjoyed. Is this me growing up? I kind of miss being young.

I’m reminded, constantly and unintentionally, of my age. I see people around me have baby after baby, or plan for weddings. Things that I didn’t want 13 years ago, but do sorta want now. I’m the oddball of the bunch. Friend’s have to plan days and nights around their children. Finding a babysitter is important. Making events that might not necessarily be kid-friendly, be kid-friendly because it’s that or don’t socialize at all. The priorities have shifted and I missed the train. I’m still 20-years old with no real responsibilities stuck in this 32-year old body wishing for someone else who’s like me. Some exist, just no where near where I live. Friends who love and play video games as much as me. Who, even if they don’t like or play WoW, don’t fault me for the quantity of time spend playing it. Or the importance of it to me.

I have those friends, who are close-ish in age. Just not a single one of them live near me.

So I’m reminded of my age, time and time again. It’s a hard reality to swallow, when the thing you want most is just to find someone with whom you share an interest in. I don’t mean a soul mate, but a friend. I have many, online, but few within driving distance of me. It makes me sad some days. Other days I have the strength to shrug it off as me being emotional and “girlie”, but the truth remains.

This isn’t what I expected out of adulthood. Too bad there’s no turning back.


4 Responses to “Growing up is hard to do”

  1. Shteevie on September 13, 2010 1:28 pm

    You have carefully enumerated these problems. While getting them out there, identified, and in plain sight is important, it is usually not enough.

    Now you need to prioritize, target, and plan actions against each of them. I wonder what a blog post that contains that information would look like?

    A good definition for adulthood might focus on the difference between being self-reliant and self-centered. I think it’s safe to say that, in this way if not many more, you are a fine adult.

  2. Russ on September 13, 2010 2:18 pm

    Ah, jeez. You just put it all out there, doncha?

    I feel for you (and with you). You have a real handle on what happened and what’s going on now, and it’s too bad that insight isn’t rewarded. You make me misty and also proud that people like you still exist to make the human race better.

    I think we’re all trapped, somewhere between being who we are and being who we think we should be. The enormous gulf between ourselves and adults that was there when we were kids sticks with us, but the trouble is, when we’ve grown up … that’s it. There’s no longer some “super human” we can aspire to. We’re it. And we pretty much suck.

    You make me think and care about you, and that’s a great gift.

  3. Nari on September 13, 2010 3:14 pm

    If you could manage to move to Seattle, you’d be in great company. I’m very much like you, it almost could have been me that wrote this!

  4. Stacey on September 19, 2010 3:06 pm

    I hear you on the not wanting to grow up thing. I still don’t feel like a grown up sometimes even though I have those same sets of responsibilities you do – including a large student loan debt.

    At some point you might realize that what other people think of you don’t matter and hey you get to make your own choices now – that’s what’s cool about being a grown up. Being an adult doesn’t have to be bad – it’s all in how you define it. I grew up long before I left my ancestral home at the age of 17 (family problems, you know) because I had to. It’s made me a very resourceful person and rather independent. There is a great satisfaction in knowing you and you alone have accomplished something.

    I have faith that you will meet (sorry to be cliche) “the right person” someday and that will really change how you view things. At least it did for me. Kids or not (and I fully support the decision to not have kids), life is short, an adventure, and being a creative (not to mention a gamer) I’m sure you can see fun in everything.

    I, for one, think you’re cool (never having seen your tattoos) and would love it if you would come for a visit when we move to Montana/New Mexico/New Hampshire/Maine.

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