Sunday, April 24, 2005

Growing up is overrated

Tonight's theme on Grey's Anatomy revolved around the notion that growing up is highly overrated. They're right: behind the independence and intimate encounters, there's a minefield of missteps, anguish and uncertainty. At least, that's how it feels to me and every other twentysomething I know.

Take today, for example: around 5pm, I snapped out of a cleaning-induced trance and realized I was sitting on my bed in a COMPLETELY EMPTY ROOM in my family's home. An empty room that used to be mine.

Technically, it still is mine -- but the walls are bare and most of the furniture is gone. All traces of my adolescence have been boxed up, thrown out or placed in a yard sale pile. In a few weeks, Bryan and I will move in and fill it up again with our things, but the room itself has changed irrevocably. It feels significant, like my life is suddenly shifting onto a new plain with opportunities I never imagined, and where my steps are deviating from the path I'd kept to in the past. I keep looking back wistfully, but I know I have to move forward...but it is so hard.

Everything is changing at once: in four months, I'll be a married graduate student in a foreign country, on a track that may prove serendipitously right but could just as easily be blatantly off course. I know I have to move somewhere rather than accept stagnancy, but the destination of that where is somewhere out on the horizon. It's like taking a blind leap of faith or fording a river whose opposite bank you can't discern -- right now, everything is this overwhelming mix of excitement and fear, anticipation and dread. I'm both eager to go and begging to stay put where the boundaries are safe and known.

The room made it all real: this is happening NOW. Not a year away, not in that hazy distant future, but in the immediate moment. This is life in the present tense, the moment I've supposedly been waiting and hungering for since childhood. So why am I yearning to put things on pause for awhile?

Things that give me comfort: my fiance's unwavering devotion, my best friend's steadfast support, the love of my family and the knowledge that I am not alone. Every time I hear someone else voice the same concerns, I grab ahold of the conversation and dig in with all I have. I wring it out until there's nothing left but our mutual uncertainty. This awareness of being in the company of others is a salve for my frantically whirling thoughts - it's good to know that everyone my age is living this, one way or another.

After I realized that England was a reality, I adopted a new philosophy: it's all coming, so I might as well roll with it instead of wasting sweat and tears to fight the change. Rolling has demonstrated itself to be considerably easier on my heart, although it does make me dizzy on occasion. I know I'll get through this in one piece - I'll land on my feet in England and will be walking around confidently before I know it. For now, though, I'm just sitting on my bed, gazing through welling eyes at the whiteness of my walls and thinking back on all that was...and all that will be.


Kelli said...

All empty?? But I loved that room :( so many memories of crashing at your place after staying up and watching movies and playing with Leo... or you balled up on the couch when i came over to visit you during your not-so-healthy days ;) Guess i've been doing a lot of reminiscing too... wishing that we were all together like we used to be, hanging out after school when our lives were so intertwined and we didn't have to work so hard at keeping in touch with people. But at least I know for sure that no matter what we will all end up back together, something in that scary future, and all will be as it should. :)

Kelli said...

er... someTIME in that future might be a little better :) of course it's only people like you and me that would correct a blog comment :)

Meg said...

I know what you mean - there's so much upheaval right now that it really makes me appreciate the people who have stayed in touch with me. I don't know what I'd do without you! Life definitely used to be easier, at least in some my heart, I know it will all be okay and that the friends I have will be with me forever - but damn, it's still hard! :)