All this talk of getting older, is bringing me down my friend
When I first got to Turkey, I remember going to the pharmacy to buy sunscreen and thinking, Ugh- I have to apply this nasty stuff to stave off the cruel bitch that is aging. As my body beings to display the physical manifestations of aging, I often think about growing older.
The truth is, all of us must grow older, but if we are lucky we also grow up. In law school I used to always hear people say, "This is just like high school." In the working world, I now hear people say, "People act like they are in grade school!" It seems like we are progressively going backwards! Slowly growing more immature as the years go by.
The insecurities of our youth were placated by our parent's reassurances, and the excuses that come with being young. But as time passes, we have less ways of dealing with our insecurities. So, the insecurities frame the way we interact with people, they makes us too competitive in our jobs and catty with people we are threatened by. They make us doubt people's loyalties, and generally makes people lean towards being gossipy and dramatic.
I love this quote from the televesion phenomenom, The Wonder Years:
“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves... for growing up.”
Sometimes we are so scared of growing up, because even with all the good that comes with it, there also comes a great deal of pain and much of that has to do with confronting the truth of our selves.
I just moved back to Ann Arbor for a few weeks and moved in with some friends who were understandably living in a state of disarray. The house is turned upside down because everyone has been so caught up in finishing up law school and studying for the bar. Being the prissy pants I am becoming, I immediately decided we needed someone to come in and do a deep cleaning.
So, the cleaning lady is here right now, surveying the damage that has accumulated over continued neglect, laziness, and although it seemed like such a great mess when I first saw it, I could see her breaking down the problem areas in her head and making a plan of attack.
If a house can get in this state in such a short time, then what about our selves? It makes sense that people seem to become more jaded and disillusioned as they age. Each year that we get older, we have one more year of messes that we haven't cleaned up, issues that we have neglected and seconds, minutes and hours in which we have been cruel to ourselves. Maybe growing up includes being brave enough to look at all that gunk that gets caught in the sink drain when you are doing the dishes and reaching in and throwing it out.
I know that as I grow up, the world will get more and more beautiful. Virginia Woolf said, "You cannot find peace by avoiding life." With every time I roll up my sleeves, tell some honest truths, and let out a good cry, I know that I am helping to maintain myself, I know that I am confronting life now so it doesn't haunt me later. If this is what getting older can be, then I gladly welcome it.