there goes the fear

I was at the gym tonight, happily cardio’ing on the elliptical, listening to Doves and idly watching the soundless TVs in front of me, when I realized one of the faces on ABC looked familiar. It was Campbell Scott, best known, in my mind, as Steve Dunn in Singles. Yes, as in the Seattle-grunge movie, Cameron Crowe’s homage to his favorite city.

In fact, I just re-watched Singles last Thursday. It’s been on HBO lately, so I TiVO’d it out of nostalgia. I love that movie. I miss Seattle, and I miss the grunge era, and I adore all the rock star cameos and performances in it. But, because it was so recently burned into my brain, you can imagine my shock at seeing the male lead on TV with gray hair. And granted, I was very young when that movie came out (14 in 1992), but still – a lot of time has gone by, and twentysomething movie actors from 1992 are now playing divorced fathers on primetime TV.

It all sort of serves to remind me that we’re all getting older. This hit over the weekend, too. I was home, after all, at my parents house – but not as a kid home from college for Thanksgiving. I was home as a twenty-eight year old woman, with her thirty-one year old boyfriend. And I’m having a lot of trouble reconciling that with my internal self-image.

So I’m sort of thinking about what really constitutes adulthood for me. It’s not about getting a better car or nicer clothes, because I don’t care about those things. It’s definitely not about ceasing and desisting my habits of challenging authority – I think that associating rebellion with youth and immaturity is a major flaw in our society. It might be about acquiring a permanent home, but surely the nesting instinct isn’t the only defining factor of adulthood, is it? Maybe it’s just about focusing on goals more, paying more attention, taking more care to keep one’s life together. Like remembering to pay bills, and staying organized enough to achieve things, regardless of whether or not those things are in line with capitalist American society.

I guess I feel more like I’m on the edge of a new phase in life. And this time, it isn’t something I’m triggering with a move or a new job. It’s the care and pride I take in my job these days – I’m trying to do more than just get by, I’m trying to really do well and become better at my career. It’s having the extremely stable relationship that is the one I share with Paul. I think of everything in the last three years – since I graduated and left UBC – as beig part of the same phase, the Post-College Finding Myself phase, where I sorted out who I was and what I did for a living. Now, I feel like I’m getting ready to grow into the next phase, and I’m not quite sure what that entails. I can see the patterns leading there, more focus, more goals, but not what being a true grownup is really going to be like.

It’s kind of scary, getting older. Not that I’m afraid of growing out of this phase, but just that I don’t know what’s coming next. Adulthood is different for everyone, and trying to fit the idea of being a grownup in with my own ideologies and ideals and goals isn’t easy. But as I see the faces of my generation get older (isn’t Trent Reznor forty already?), it hits me, now and again – there is no stopping these transitions. There is no stopping getting older.

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