Dear Julia, how is February? So far ours is sunny, but cool. Last night Ian and I went to a swim team gathering at the home of one of my seniors (he’s the type of guy that Mom would have loved to have as a son-in-law, a handsome valedictorian, football player, excellent swimmer, PILOT and an all around decent guy).
His mother has been so kind to me and eager to befriend me that I feel uncomfortable because I don’t know if I’m appropriately showing how much I appreciate it. It’s that old “Meredyth is awful to give gifts to because you can’t tell if she likes it” problem that I can’t get past (hi, Mom). I try to be gracious and thankful and appreciative because it is so nice to have someone who keeps telling me how much they value my hard work coaching the swim team, even when I feel like I’m doing a terrible job. She also thanked Ian for sacrificing me and then she got his number so she can find him at the Genius Bar and he can show her how to work her new iPhone. Ha ha!
We had fajitas and talked about swimming and the school systems and Ian and I tried to blend in as “actual adults”. I’ll be 30 this May and I still don’t feel like I’m an adult, even though I have adult responsibilities. Ian said the same thing. He forgets that he’s almost 35, because he doesn’t feel like a real adult either. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I really want to become an “actual adult”. I want kids and a house and a job I love, but I don’t want to ever slip into the mindset that I see many adults having.
I’m sure parts of it are inevitable. When we have kids we will talk to other parents about teachers, school sports teams, other parents and discipline. When we have a house we will discuss mortgages and foundations and schools in the neighborhood. I’m okay with this, that’s not the problem.
I used to think the problem occurred when having a family, a house, or a job means ignoring and forgetting about all of the other wonderful things out there past the edge of your town and your family. But now I see things a little differently. A little of this is important and good. You telescope to watch children grow up, and make sure they are growing well. You telescope when you focus on your community and doing good work. You telescope when you focus on friends and family. You ignore the world’s problems and soak in the joy of your family and life. This can be pleasant and good, for a while.
So, now I suspect the problem occurs when this telescoping collides with a desire to be right and judge others to make sure we’re doing everything the “right way.” It happens when YOUR decisions for your family, home choice, or job is the best one and others should follow YOUR way. Or, when you judge someone for not following YOUR way. And it continues to fester when the children have grown and the home is cared for, but you can’t get away from that telescope that focuses so much attention on your world that it ignores the larger world that might open up experiences, possibilities and joy. But, somehow I think that if I’ve made it close to 30 years without succumbing to this, I might still get away with never being an “actual adult”. At least, I hope this is the case.