ptooey, he said...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How Do You Move in a World of Fog?

You have to do it running but you do everything that they ask you to
'cause you don’t mind seeing yourself in a picture
as long as you look faraway, as long as you look removed
showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters
showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters

You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends
when you pass them at night under the silvery, silvery citibank lights
arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes glazing under
oh you wouldn’t want an angel watching over
surprise, surprise they wouldn’t wannna watch
another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults

The National - Mistaken for Strangers

It seems to be a running theme in my life lately. I've been listening to the above CD a lot this week. Boxer is filled with pretty dead-on musings on the journey to adulthood. It took me a few spins to grasp the full impact of the album, but that's the way the best albums are.

I turned 36 last week. It strikes me that the struggle to realize my own adulthood should have been over years ago, yet here I am. I don't feel 36. I imagine that in many ways I don't act 36. hiccup told me that our oldest daughter was convinced that I would really like to have a skateboard for my birthday. It's sweet that she still thinks I would enjoy something like that, though I suppose my shredding days are long gone.

hiccup recently convinced me to grow back my goatee after four years of a smooth chin. I cannot believe how gray my beard is now, though given the salt and pepper on top of my head I know it shouldn't surprise me. When I look in the mirror, I'm forced to accept the fact that my appearance now contradicts my feelings and actions.

For some inexplicable reason, my mp3 player has been feeding this fire by spitting out one sweetly nostalgic song after another as I sit here, making me acutely aware of just how many years have passed between the young person I still see myself as and the note-quite-so-young person I actually am. It occurred to me yesterday that hiccup and I have been hanging out together for nearly half of our lives now. Almost eighteen years have passed, and I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

No, it's not that old, but a discrepancy in my perception definitely exists. Given family history of the proclivity toward sharply decreased lifespan, I'm acutely aware that my time here may not be as long as some expect. Morbid? Not really. I'm trying to keep things in perspective, really.

So what do we do? How are we to define our adulthood? How are we going to approach middle age? Old age? Will we make it that far? I certainly hope so.


  • I think we all feel like we're 22, inside. I know I do. I find myself sitting in important meetings, making decisions that affect other people's lives, thinking "They don't really have me doing this??!!!"

    As for the fog: have you thought about a different job? Maybe it's time to make a change, if you can...I just know I can't stay doing one thing for more than about 4 or 5 years without wanting to derail myself.

    And I'll bet you look distinguished in salt & pepper. ;)

    By Blogger Beanie, at Thu Mar 20, 09:55:00 AM  

  • OK, as usual, what Beanie said. All of it.

    By Anonymous Alison, at Thu Mar 20, 07:13:00 PM  

  • bean, al...Ehh. I don't think a job change is in the near future for me. I really do enjoy what I do, and I'm good at it, so what else could a person ask for. The other employment options here are pretty much 1.) Go to work in the oilfield 2.) Do you want fries with that?


    I don't think it's a matter of an employment rut so much as I just have a hard time realizing that I've somehow frittered away half my life without even realizing it. Heh.

    Oh, and the title of the entry is from a Tom Waits song.

    By Blogger ptooey, at Fri Mar 21, 08:46:00 AM  

  • Oh ptooey, I'm so right there with you. I've got about a year and a half on you (I'll be 38 towards the end of this year), and lately I've been wondering why I have such a disconnect with my actual age and the way I think/act/look. I had a conversation with someone about this within the last week or so (I believe with my Mom), about how I just don't feel this "old" yet.

    For me, it's factoring into the sort of men I (should?) date. A lot of the men that are in my age bracket are living "older" lives than I am (note I didn't say "mature" lives). Are they going to want to listen to the latest album by Spoon/BRMC/The Dandy Warhols? Will they want to go see concerts? Can they accept the fact that I still enjoy these things? I don't know. What I do know is that I often relate more to my students (who are often 10+ years my junior) than I do to some of the people that I meet that are "my own age," and I'm not quite sure what to do about that.

    You're not alone, my friend. I'm right there with you in my mind too.

    By Blogger newwavegurly, at Sat Mar 22, 09:22:00 AM  

  • I hear you on that, man. Trying to sort through all that myself.

    By Blogger winter, at Thu Jul 24, 10:09:00 AM  

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