I guess I'll get a little more personal tonight and have a little "Dear Diary" session. Don't say you weren't forewarned!
I'm a little under two months away from turning 27. Happy Birthday, me. I can't believe how old I am. Forgive me, anyone older, who may be offended by my astonishment, but... I really didn't think time would go so quickly. Obviously, no one ever really does. I know my father
is reeling at the fact that he's... um... 30?! (yeah, he's on this site, so I'll play down his age a TINY bit).
I'm going to confess something, and that is that I miss feeling like I have an eternity ahead of me. It was still pretty hard, at 18, to realize I wasn't a child anymore and that my life was about to take a dramatic turn into young-adulthood. The reality it that this was the moment my faith began to crack, but it was also the moment I realized I was mortal, and that my beloved grandmother was mortal, and that time was tick-tick-ticking away. What I felt looming was "the inevitable" course of life, and it was extremely depressing.
At the time, I was working at a Ford warehouse in Carrollton, TX (it's gone now) and had been hired as a temp to pick orders for national dealerships around the country. It was pretty brutal, too. The hours were 11pm until 7am in an 85, or more, degree warehouse. I pushed around a huge cart and battled falling over in exhaustion every night. For a while, I fought the urge to just quit because I was making $19.13 an hour. For an 18 year old, that's pretty damn good and I needed a car. Later, I made a pact with myself: I could only quit on a Friday. Since Mondays were the worst, I was definitely not allowed to quit that day. If I could just make it to Friday, then I could quit. But, I almost always felt rejuvenated and like I could pull through one more week. Eventually, I made it to the last night of my employment with Ford and played another game to get me through the last night. As I pushed my cart through each isle and wiped the dirty sweat from my brow, I reminded myself this would all be a memory soon. Each shelf I embedded in my memory so I could pull it up later and say, "It's over."
The next week, I was at my grandparent's house, enjoying a much-need and deserved vacation. It was all behind me and I could finally relax. I got to hang out and do nothing for two weeks. It was like I was 11 again and spending the summer with gramma and granpa! But, two nights before I had to leave, it hit me like a ton of bricks: THIS would all be a memory soon, too!
My grandmother was being her usual silly self, dancing like a goof-ball in front of the T.V., and I was sitting on the couch laughing. This woman had been like a second mother to me; she was my favorite person alive... and I realized she wouldn't be here forever. I also realized, no matter how badly I wanted to stay with them forever, and not ever grow up or go to college or find a husband who would move me somewhere, I had no power to remain. I had to strike out and make a life for myself, and I knew that I would. It didn't matter how much I loved them; it didn't matter how much I resented not being able to spend every waking moment with them while they were still alive... my life would go on without them.
I cried all night. It was like I was mourning my childhood. Other things changed that night as well. My faith in God was severely shaken for other reasons, but I would say that this moment was an "ah ha!" moment, but maybe not the kind one enjoys. It's like, "AH HA! I'm going to die someday! Oh. Damn."
So, tonight is kind of like that, too. "The Inevitable" has made itself known again. Since I was 21, I've been moving from state-to-state like a vagabond. Nashville, TN was the "fun, single-life" stage, although severely tinged with religiosity. Oklahoma, Cali and Colorado were the "get-to-know-the-estranged-family-and-subsequently-yourself" stage. Florida was the "lose-the-confidence-issues-already" stage. I made the best friend of my life
there, and lost a childhood friend (which represents, also, my loss of religion). Last June, I made an emergency flight home (Texas) because my big brother
was in the hospital with some pretty serious lung issues. I had desperately wanted to flee the Florida scene anyway, and I knew I wouldn't be in Texas longer than a year.
Well, what I didn't realize was that flight out of South Florida was actually a transition out of my young-adulthood and into a real relationship. I've struggled a bit with the fact that a certain aspect of my life is over. In fact, all my girl-friends are now in serious relationships, too. Some are married, some have kids, and the rest are headed that way. This is a stage I wasn't prepared for, either. It seemed to happen so suddenly! Now all the girls I grew up with and had sleep-overs with (even at 26) have kids and aren't even able
to do that stuff anymore. They're leading completely different lives. My boyfriend
and I don't plan to marry or have kids so relating to them is going to be increasingly difficult. But, you know, I've sort of gotten somewhat used to this fact.
"The Inevitable" seems to be another move and, this time, it's Maryland. I never wanted to stay in Texas but I wanted to stay put for at least a year. But, the opportunity resides up north; staying here seems pretty dumb. It's not really the move that bothers me; it's the fact that I have to say goodbye to Caleb, my brother. I know I'll see him again so it's not like GOODBYE but... his surgery made me painfully aware of his
mortality, too. Oh yes, and the fact that he was recently held up at gunpoint in the bank he works at. I posted on my FB
that I missed Colorado (because that's where some family is) and Caleb replies, "please don't move again!" Those four words felt like a big stab in my chest. I can't help it!
I realized tonight that, without any spiritual significance, we're all allowed One person to share our lives with. Of course, we're free to choose this One, but there's very little room for any others. Yes, we can all socialize with as many people as we want; we can still have tons of friends. But, when it comes down to it, we have to choose that One over everyone else. In the end, everyone will choose their One over us, too. If we don't have a One, we'll have no one in the end... because everyone else will be with theirs. My brother has his One, and my mother, and my sisters, and my other brother; my cousin has hers and my dad has his. I guess this is why we're supposed to choose wisely, and I believe I have. It's just hard realizing that some things are almost not a choice, like the move to MD. It would be stupid not to go. Texas has nothing to offer except awesome atheist conversation with my older brother. I hope he can handle the religious family without me...