Guys, – it’s finally happening. Call in the Botox police, order some Depends, get me seltzer for my dentures. I’m getting old.
A seemingly insignificant moment occurred tonight, perhaps prompted by the imminent arrival of my 28th birthday, which struck me square in the face with the simple fact that I’m aging. It wasn’t seeing wrinkles or accidentally peeing or anything like that. No. What had happened was that I walked through my living room, on my way to brush my teeth and go to bed, when suddenly I felt an urgent need to hang up some art I bought recently. It was 4 pictures of various sizes and content, and it took me about an hour of trying out different arrangements to really figure out where I wanted them to go. After I hung them up, I stood back and admired the results, beaming happily around at all my precious books and objects I’ve collected over the years (and arranged so tastefully, might I add).
Somewhere during that process, my inner monologue said, verbatim: “Oh my god, this is so fun!” And meant it. Not even a hint of sarcasm or irony. I was alone in my apartment, hanging up art, and got such a tickle of pure pleasure from the process. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve succeeded in making everywhere I lived adorable, and done so with relish. But this time it was actual, factual fun. That was the sensation. Like playing in the sprinklers as a little kid fun – an element of exhilaration to it. “What the heck? To whom is that fun,” I asked myself.
The answer was immediately clear: aging women. And yet I did not give one fuck that I am apparently getting old (which I hear is also a sign of aging). I looked at my art, I looked at the fireplace with fake flames and real heat, I looked at my little dry bar just for making Old Fashioneds, I looked at my cozy recliner that I sit in to read and do homework, I looked at my stacks and stacks of books that I love so, so much, and I was just, like… really fucking pleased with it.
So I got myself my favorite snack – an apple with copious amount of peanut butter – and settled into the aforementioned recliner to enjoy myself. Perhaps here might not be quite the place to extol the pleasures of this delightful snack – how you rub the peanut butter around your mouth with your tongue, sucking all the moisture out until everything is so glooped up that you have to force your jaws apart to take a bite of the apple, which – miraculously – cuts right through the gluey texture of the PB and washes it all down in such a perfect combination of salty, fatty, and sweet that you practically start to –
Anyway, this transcendent moment couldn’t last forever. It came to an end as I remembered suddenly that no matter what happens after I finish my Master’s (teaching in public schools, Fulbright in Mexico, internship in DC), I won’t be living here for longer than about nine months at the most. And just as the previous moment of enjoying my apartment brought unadulterated happiness, likewise I now bathed in the depths of despair, knowing it’s a love that can’t last. For yes, dear reader, I am in love with this place. I liked the space from the moment I saw it, and couldn’t help but envision all the potential it had. Now a formerly dingy, neglected basement is a bitchin’ bachelorette pad full of cool art, good books, cute knickknacks, yoga and stretching paraphernalia, and spider traps.
Sometimes, of course, I look at my friends with cool boyfriends and girlfriends and I think, “That looks nice. Regular sex is bomb, and so is having someone to stuff your face full of Thai takeout with. Maybe I should get one.”
But I was at my good friend’s house the other day, and she and her husband are just getting adjusted to having a new baby. The baby is cute as fuck and they’re awesome parents, but after I came home from hanging out with them, I sat in my very quiet apartment, looked around, and felt an overwhelming panic at the thought of giving it up.
People, children destroy things – things you love, things you thought you’d have for the rest of your life to remind you of when you did cool shit like traveling. They ruin existential things too, like free time and free will and privacy. Gone. Crushed. I would, of course, partly preempt this issue by packing up all my physical treasures the moment I conceived, but I still will have lost the ability to only take care of myself and do what I want. That’s pee-your-pants scary.
I had thought – since I’m getting older, you know – that I was ready for husband & child(s) & dog & etc. Nope. I immediately deleted all my online dating crap, swore off men except in the purposes for which they are expressly useful, and vowed to spend more time hanging out alone in my apartment, doing what I like. I know I won’t be here for as long as I’d like to, but in the meantime, I’m going to stay down here like a grouch, only surface when the sun isn’t shining, and keep things perfectly clean, organized, and decorated. Cause, you know. It’s just so fucking fun.
Happy birthday to me.