Last week, a big truck arrived from New York. Save for what fit in our Jeep, when we left Brooklyn, all of our worldly possessions stayed behind in some icy cold storage unit in Queens. (I imagine, considering New York, there were worse environmental considerations than just the cold, but let's just not.)
I hadn't expected to be upset about it--having our stuff shipped out to us--but I was. Up until last week, there were still some pieces of me in New York, and now there are none. (Except for maybe this hat.)
"My life is drenched in metaphor," I texted a friend.
Ironically, she texted me back about not wanting to "adult" either, not knowing what do do with herself, which I realized was the root of my problem as well.
Adulthood is not as one might imagine. I spent much of my adolescence waiting to be an adult. No, waiting implies that I was idle. I was working to be an adult. That was the essence of my younger self--striving toward something, expecting some finality with the result.
That is what is opposite about actual adulthood. You don't so much work toward something as you learn to be in whatever is. This is not existence without goals: I have a more clearly defined picture of who I'd like to be and what I'd like to do than I ever have (and that part about being grown-up is nice). It is figuring out how to stretch for those things with your mind, your heart, your physicality all in the present, in whatever that present looks like.
Faced with the complications of maturity (which, by the way, I am now convinced I'm not at all mature), I've been nostalgic for my childhood. It's not so much about revisiting people, places, or things left in the past as it is capturing that feeling of [premeditated] [and also carefree] "adventure around every corner" I'm so certain was the gemstone of youth. Then I remembered that I spent childhood working toward being an adult. Childhood was striving.
Probably adulthood is the real adventure because you're finally set free from that. I don't know what's next because I'm just not as in control of the future any more. I'm not devising a life for only myself, and my days don't consist of writing papers and taking pictures for social clubs, gallivanting the globe, and reading books. When I do those things now, that's part of my joy, not a job. It's building life in a different way, a way that is far less calculated and focused on formulas, and instead enriched in experience and the excitement of not knowing.
It doesn't always feel exciting though, and last week, it felt sad. (Sometimes I still fight with the dark, a remnant of younger days.)
The same friend had given me a vile of essential oils marked "Cheer" when I was visiting in New York. Last week, the bottle slipped from my hand and splintered apart on the bathroom tile.
"I shattered my cheer," I told her. "It's leaked out and gone."
My life is drenched in metaphor.
"Your cheer is being released," my mom said, because mostly, it's about perspective.
And once again I was struck by how much growing up has nothing to do with accomplishing anything and absolutely everything to do with letting go.