Every now and then I do something relatively inconsequential like paying a bill or stopping in at the bank and suddenly I'm hit with the startling awareness that I am an adult. It's a weird moment. It's like I just woke up from a dream I was having in the eighth grade only to discover that I wasn't thirteen anymore, but rather thirty-three AND as an added bonus, now have crow's feet, stretch marks and mildly high cholesterol. (Sidebar: This post may remind you slightly of the storyline of "Thirteen Going on Thirty." However, this version of that concept will not include the fairy dust that enabled Jennifer Garner's time-travel, but I may want to talk about Mark Ruffalo later, if that's OK with you.)
Anyway, I have these revelations about being a real, live adult on occasion when I force myself to eat broccoli, or call to make a doctor's appointment for Sam, or listen to talk radio on my way to the grocery store. I am a "big person" as my three-year-old self might refer to me now. Sometimes this is very surreal and I wonder how exactly I got to thirty-three from thirteen so fast.
To be clear, I have zero desire to be thirteen again. If I had a picture from those fashionable middle nineties available, I would scan a picture of myself for you and it would all be very clear why being thirty-three is much preferable to being thirteen. In fact, after observing the hairstyle I chose to rock approximately two decades (!) ago, you might decide to remove me from your speed dial. And I would support you in that decision.
I understand a little better now how my parents find themselves slightly confused as they prepare to turn the big six-oh. I'm pretty sure that it feels like yesterday that they were wearing their bell bottoms and listening to Creedence Clearwater with the windows rolled down and the 1970's blowing through their hair. Even I can remember them in their early thirties when I thought they were so old, and now I realize that I am, in fact, older than they were in my first memories of them. Considering that I had Sam roughly seven years later than my mother had me, I am somewhat concerned that I will arrive at Sam's graduation and people will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to determine if I am his mother or his grandmother.
I'm curious now at what point I officially crossed over the imaginary line between "I am an irresponsible youngster who should not be allowed to drive across state lines alone" to "I now make crucial life decisions and can be counted on to separate the white and the dark laundry." Was it when I got married? Or maybe when I got my first job? I'm leaning toward when I had a baby, but I think I'd crossed that line before then. It's hard to know and I'm not sure that it is a line as much as it is a wide, open desert that I am currently in the middle of fighting my way across. (note: This metaphor isn't meant to be understood. It's really just for dramatic effect).
All I know is that sometimes I can't believe I'm old enough to have named a child, or to have written a will, or to have worn a wedding band for almost five years. I can so vividly remember being an awkward teenager wondering when my life was going to start and now here I am, in the middle of what I used to dream about. I'm not trying to wax eloquent here, I'm just saying, it's more than a little surreal. And I'm guessing I'll feel the same when I'm turning sixty and using L'Oreal to color my grays and secretly considering Botox.
Life's short and that kind of unnerves me on occasion. It also makes me want to be sure that I take time to consider what part of the journey I'm on and to really enjoy this particular part without wishing for the past or waiting around for the future. Because, as far as all my research shows, this part probably won't be coming back around.
If I could hashtag here, which is totally ridiculous in a blog, it would look like this: #Samisonlylittleonce and #Bepresentnow