Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All Growed Up

Letting the "wild" out.
 My husband will be eligible for AARP next year.


Yeah, I know.  That’s what I thought.  Because, if he’s that old, I’m not far behind.  So, how does that work?

For the longest time, I’ve been waiting for the adult in me to kick in, like some sort of magical switch.  I keep expecting to suddenly become somber, serious, eager to wake at the crack of dawn, clean house, and eat and prepare balanced hot meals.  It hasn’t happened yet, and assuming that I’m not living into my late nineties, I’m on that slippery downward slope to the grave.  I remember my mom at my age.  I’m definitely not my mom, although I’m starting to look like her.  My “mature adult” switch must have a short.

There are certain things I started doing upon reaching “majority” and leaving the shelter of my parents’ home, things which are probably not the best examples of adulthood, but that I still practice:

1.       Ice cream is good at any time, including breakfast:  I have a fondness for coffee and sweets for breakfast.  On those moments when we have pie or cake in the house, why not eat them a la mode?  It seems almost un-American to do otherwise.  But I didn’t start it.  My sister made the breakthrough move when she put sherbet in half a cantaloupe.  Brilliant!  I just cut out the fruit part.

2.      Listening to new music: O.k., maybe I’m not as alternative as I think I am.  I don’t listen to rap, mostly because I’m no longer an angry youth, just a bitter middle-aged woman.  I’m more inclined to say “Quit your bitching and get a job” than “Down with The Man.”  It’s probably because I married The Man, or at least that’s what the homeless in Berkeley say whenever we walk by.  I’m still open to music that has a good beat and that I can dance to, which is pretty broad considering how I dance. 

3.      Wearing funky colored toe nail polish:  Most of the time my toes are covered anyway, so why not green, blue, hound’s-tooth, or leopard?  I figure if someone’s bored enough to be looking at my feet, why not give them something worthwhile to ogle?

Even as a kid, I was responsible about work, taking care of animals, and following social protocol (at least to the best of my abilities).  I started working at 12, babysitting five days a week for a neighbor, and I’ve been a productive member of society until now.  I pay my bills on time, and all that, but in many ways, I still feel like I did while I was 16, and I’m not sure if that’s because the changes came gradually or if I really am that immature. 

Sometimes, it just takes one picture to show ALL the wrongs.
Still, there are a couple “adult” ideals that I’ve adopted:

1.      No shorts.  I’ve given up on shorts except as morning loungewear.  I’ve always hated the sensation of the back of my legs sticking to a chair.  I’ve never had great legs, so it’s not a huge adjustment to go to linen slacks, sundresses, or maxi-dresses.  Because I wear slacks or jeans for the majority of the year, my legs seldom see the sun anyways, so in shorts they become a beacon for squid and moths.

2.      Keep hair no longer than just past shoulder length.  I start out putting it in a ponytail, but when it gets much longer, there’s the temptation to venture into Heidi or medieval braids.  I’ll save that for my grande dame years.  I go back and forth on dying.  Usually I just do a temporary rinse in conventional colors when I’m bored.  It saves me the effort of maintaining the roots and I’m kind of curious to see how the grey grows out.  So far, it’s favoring my right side.  I’m hoping it’ll pan out into a Cruella de Ville look.

3.      Keep the liquor cabinet stocked.  You never know when guests show up, and I’d like to be able to offer them whichever poison is most to their liking.  I’m also always prepared for a party, or any particularly hard day that falls my way.

Still, I wonder if this is how my mom felt when she was my age.  Maybe it’s different because she had two kids.  Then again, my mom now looks to us for advice and guidance since my dad passed away.  So, maybe I am more mature than I think I am.

If not, I have an excuse.  It’s all in my head.

No, literally.  More specifically, in my mouth.  I still have one of my “baby teeth.”  My dentists were amused at first, now they’re amazed.  So, until it’s gone, I’m still a kid.  At least that’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

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