Saturday, April 20, 2013

Questions and Answers

In the watery light of 6:15 AM on Thursday, I hesitated before getting into my car.  I looked at the patch of dirt where I had planted some pea seeds a couple of weeks ago and saw the same nothing growing that I've seen every day since then.  In my scrubs, with my bag and my coffee and my ID badge and my supposedly grown-up grad school self, I started to cry.  My eyes filled and my chin quivered and I felt small and five years old again.  It felt like how every time you are disappointed as a child, it hits you and you go down.  Like falling from the monkey bars and the ground knocks the wind out of you so fast that you lay paralyzed on the dusty grass, waiting for your body to breathe again.

I've been twenty-five for a couple of months now.  I'm twenty-five, and sometimes I feel like my life is over.  Then, sometimes I feel like my life hasn't even begun and I look around in a bewildered panic, wondering how I got here and what the hell am I doing.  It's less about the difference between what I'm actually doing and what I thought I'd be doing, and more about the fact that I just really, really thought I'd have it all figured out by now.  Whatever "it" was, my five- and twelve- and eighteen-year-old self was positive that by now, I'd have the answers.  Apparently the Adult Answer Book fairy was laid off before February, because I never got my copy.

I can remember being twelve or fourteen and feeling like I was splitting in two, trying to figure out what and how and who to be.  I so very missed being little and wild and naked in barn boots chasing chickens and picking tomatoes.  I simultaneously wanted to be self-assured and athletic and capable and mature and I ached with the effort of my often futile attempts.  Adolescence, right?  Typical.  Except that I still feel that way.  All the time.  And I miss my family, and my old house, and my college friends, and some mythical moment way, way back in my life where I've convinced myself that either I had it all figured out or I didn't yet know how much I didn't know.

And then I feel like this for long enough and I want to shake myself like a rag doll and tell myself to build a bridge and get over it.  So I'm twenty-five.  And tomorrow I'm going to wake up and be fifty and I still won't have all the answers and by then the questions will have changed anyway.

But man, maybe I was onto something with chasing chickens naked in my barn boots.  Maybe that's the answer.

About that age.


Allison the Meep said...

Oh, my gosh. This photo is proof that you have always been so very cute.

I have a mini crisis about my age and what I haven't accomplished or learned yet, on a pretty regular basis. The things I had planned for myself vs. the path I took that forced my plans to change. It's an internal battle I get so tired of.

Cait said...

Right? I think the getting tired of the feeling is where the angst comes in, more so than with the feeling itself. And thanks, lady. I like to say I was cute from birth to four and it's all been downhill since then :)

Anonymous said...

Look.. it isn't going to be an enlightenment. You may reach my old fart age? (58) and realize..'my god what have I done with my life?' Truth. Just take it day by day, love. No expectations. Each day is to be enjoyed and learned from... and then you go on to the next day. There is no time line. Lisa