I’ve been aware for some time now that I’m not that “young” anymore, well, relatively speaking that is. And people around me have no problem reminding me of that fact every once in a while, especially when I start saying, “Do you remember this show/song?” and then they look at me with that incredulous look in their eyes and say, “Ahem, that was way before our time.”
I don’t really mind it so much, because I know and have accepted that one of the basic facts of this world is that you will always and always be older than somebody, just as someone will always be older than you.
But this weekend, I began to realize some things that I knew that I know but I’ve never really taken a long, hard look at. Okay, I admit, it was brought about by going out with 3 young colleagues the other night and feeling so alienated by all the party music and people around me. And even though I had a sorta kinda good time, all I wanted was to curl up in a chair somewhere and read Kafka on the Shore. And when I told the guys that maybe we should go home at around 1AM, they laughed and said that the night was actually just beginning for them. I truly felt like the older sister chaperoning her younger siblings somewhere.
So it got me thinking about all the things I’m too old to enjoy/believe in. Some are sad realizations, some are just plain realistic.
I’m past the age of idealism. While I’m not yet totally cynical, I find the idealism of some of the people around me too stifling. I literally feel a hand clutching my neck when they insist that things SHOULD be like this, that people SHOULD act like this. My dears, wait till you graduate from college and work in the real world, and then tell me with a straight face that it is actually so easy to be what you think you should be. If you can still believe that after five years, then good for you. But if you can’t, welcome to the real world dude.
I’m past the age when I could dress like up like an 18 year old everyday. I used to think I could get away with it because of a certain lack of height that makes me look younger than I really am. Every once in a while, I still could, just for the heck of it. But I wouldn’t want to be one of those people who are laughed at because they’re apparently trying to recapture their youth by dressing up like they’re still teenagers. And in my line of work, if I want to be taken seriously, I cannot wear jeans and a mickey mouse t-shirt.
I’m past the age when I want to go out and party and meet people in bars. Okay, I have to admit, I was never this person. The idea is totally abhorrent to me (no offense to those who do this, it’s just not for me). More and more I want to just sit somewhere and read or talk and drink rather than drink the night away while techno music is pounding away on the speakers.
I’m past the age when I believe that people could start doing or stop doing something if they really wanted to, at the drop of a hat. I used to really believe that if my Mom loved us enough, she would stop smoking. Or if my friend really wanted to, he could start being considerate of other people’s feelings. But I’ve seen people who really and sincerely want to change, but they still deal with the same struggles for years. And they are not lesser people in my eyes. I may not totally understand what they’re dealing with, but I have a sense of what struggle is, because I deal with it too, albeit on a different level. What I hate are people who are less gracious to people who they see are failing miserably in their struggles. But then I think that in their own way, they are also struggling for dear life and are drowning because of their judgmental and ungracious attitude. So, I should cut them a little slack too.
I’m past the age of flings. Okay, I’ve never really had a fling. Technically. But the idea of going into something just for the fun of it, or just because someone’s there and available and interested, is so distasteful. I’ve had little and enormous heartbreaks already, why would I want to continue on adding to that? I cannot say that I am still hopeful that the love of my life will come along and sweep me off my feet. But I still wouldn’t exchange the possibility of that for the pleasure of now. Okay, so in this respect, I still have a little idealism after all.
But even with these realizations, I know at the end of the day, when I go to home to Laguna, when my Lola hugs me with her frail body, when I snuggle beside my Mom in her bed, when my brother and I playfully baby talk to each other, there I will always and forever be a little girl.