Monday, March 01, 2004

Things I Don't Understand: Adulthood

I'm not sure I believe in 'adulthood.' The conceptual thing, not the age group. I've seen adults who I thought were adult-like behave in very non-adult like ways.

And then there's Mel Gibson.

I think about all the childish fighting I've seen people do at work and other places.

So perhaps there is no real adulthood, maturity, what-have-you.

And then: Who wants to be an adult? Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and their ilk seem adult, I suppose: Ancient, aging, corrupt to his very soul. And what could be more adult than corruption, greed, self-serving ambition, moral blindness--Why, it's everything that is the opposite of innocence and purity. That's adult, all right.

I suppose by adulthood I meant the ability to transcend one's momentary impulses and emotions. Some sort of objective and fair stance towards the world. The ability to live up to one's responsibilities, do things on time, be on time, pay the bills, eat a balanced meal. I.e., all the things I have never quite mastered.

My pregnancy makes me realize I've got to master these things and master them now. I've got to become an adult. And this is causing me a certain amount of worry and guilt. The poor baby! The blind leading the blind. The poor baby who has a mommy who doesn't eat dinner until midnight and then it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Who never pays bills on time, who parks in the no parking zone, who forgets where the car is in the parking garage, who goes to the cineplex and switches theaters--sometimes spends hours just watching movies for free. (Then has popcorn for dinner.) Who stole a whole case of sparkling water from a parking lot just the other day.

Whatever will become of such a baby? It seems like it can't be good. I love my baby and think: How could I saddle you with such a crud mommy? I'm so sorry baby! I thought nine months would be enough time for a complete overhaul. Now it's too late. I'd never put you through this if I'd known. But if I'd known, I would have already been more adult.

Then I thought--in some ways I already am adult. I had this realization that I live a life of secrets. And pretense. There are huge swaths of my existence which are wholly concealed. So much I think and feel that I hide and that will never see the light of day. And that's not to mention the lies I've told. To keep the secrets (usually) and occasionally for other reasons (fear, self-deception). This seems what has happened to me as I've become more and more adult--more self-reliant and yet more concealed. I recall observing this as a trait in adults when I was a child, thought I'd never want to attempt it or if I did, master it. But I did.

So I suppose if I can do that, I can do the other things adulthood may require of me.


Post a Comment

<< Home