Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Long Tunnel Out of Arrested Developmt

It's a dog eat dog world, readers, yes, it is. And outside, it's raining cats and dogs. But inside, I'm a real cool cat.

Ok, enough with the dog and cat cliches. I'm dog-and-cat-sitting out in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago, for the rest of the week and into the weekend. It's a town that's so quaint, it sometimes calls to mind Stars Hollow from TV's Gilmore Girls. And for a not-born-but-made city girl like myself, one might think it would be a nightmare. But since I am also slightly nomadic and prone to escapism, the quiet and the feeling of being away from my regular life (without actually being too far from it) has appeal.

It does help, of course, that the place where I am staying, surrounded by furry, four-legged critters, is very nice. And by nice, I mean it has a lot of qualities my own place lacks right now. For one thing, it's pretty clean. There's central air and in-unit (read: free) laundry. There's peace and quiet. And did I mention, clean?! Heh, ok. Just checking.

There's also the bed I am sleeping on during my stay. Unlike the frameless futon lying on my bedroom floor, this bed is soft and comfortable. It looks like this:

Ah, to sleep in a cushy bed in a chilly room with just enough blankets! I don't ask for much in life, see.

Anyway, I am here and between walking dogs and running to the city to go to work, I've been just hanging out reading and watching the 7th season of Dexter. And now, while my laundry is whirring in the dryer over in the next room, I am doing this: blogging.

I've been wanting to write about what it means to grow up and be an adult. Maybe give some people who happen across this an idea of what it takes to be an independent, self-sufficient person while giving myself an idea of the road I need to take to get out of a rut. It's true that I am not exactly the most grown up adult and I haven't gotten half of everything figured out yet. But I do know what it's like to feel aimless and to be carving out a map toward some stable future despite this.

One thing to know is that we all feel like we're in a rut occasionally. And if you're like me, you might feel this way off and on through your life for a million reasons: depression, hormones, a need for a change, a need for a vacation, whatever. It's easy to stay in stasis if you allow yourself to dwell on how many times you've been at this place in your life. But as they say, the best way out is forward.

I think that it's always important to have a plan. And when you have this plan, or some idea of a plan, it's good to write it all down. I am a list junkie. I make lists constantly and try to get everything on that list done. When a day ends and I have some things left on that list, I tend to move those things to a new list and continue this way until everything is done. I feel like I have accomplished something this way.

I think another important thing about being an adult is learning to make it on time or even earlier to important events or appointments. Or, you know, your place of employment. Unfortunately, I have not mastered this yet, so I can't give much advice on this except to say you apparently can't be an incorrigible night owl and that, if you are, setting the required three alarm clocks won't even work to raise your head from the pillow. I will tell you a little story though, which is completely non sequiter. I had this girlfriend, once upon a time, who was always on time...or earlier. Which means that, when I was with her, I was always (well, usually – sometimes I was able to drag her down to my level) on time. This meant that I was often at parties before all the fashionably late (read: sensible) people arrived and that could sometimes determine how my night would begin: usually anxiety-ridden from having to practice small talk (which I HATE) with people, some who I did not know very well, while the host/ess ran around doing his/her hosting duties and my girlfriend and I stood around either helping out, trying to stay out of the way, or dipping our chips and baby carrots into the spinach-artichoke concoction while trying to be inconspicious. In retrospect, I don't recommend arriving early most places.

Another thing about being an adult is that adults supposedly have money. And not just in their shoes or their secret pockets, not just in the jar of pennies at their nightstand. Adults have savings accounts and checking accounts and they have money in both (negative balances do not count). These savings and checking accounts are in their own name, not in a parent's name, and they should preferably have over $100 in the savings account and enough to pay rent AND buy groceries in the checking account. Actually, if we're talking preference, we'd all prefer to have millions, right? But let's keep this realistic.

Adults are the kinds of people who don't dilly-dally or daydream too much. They can focus. They're the kind of people who understand moderation. An adult would never eat a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting and adults don't drink to get drunk; they sip and socialize and hydrate in between alcoholic beverages. An adult would never pre-game, so to speak.

I think adults might also be the kinds of people who own real estate. They probably have real furniture, not milk crates, plastic containers or a futon mattress without a frame.

Someday, I aspire to be an adult. But I am thinking that I probably won't be anytime soon. For one thing, I like to daydream. Despite my sixth grade homeroom teacher scolding me and assessing that I would "never be a writer" because I "daydream too much," it remains one of favorite pasttimes. And I'll have you know, I am still a writer – not exactly a published one, truth be told, but a writer nonetheless. Also, I don't actually like to be early or on time, unless it's to work, where I have a job to do and no duty to engage in small talk. I'm much more of a dive-right-into-in-depth-conversation person and don't know what to do when inane chit-chat creeps in. And we won't even discuss the moderation thing.

But I do like money and I would like stability. I wouldn't mind some real furniture someday – or at least, a futon frame. And most importantly, I would like to feel like I have a plan and I am following it. I mean, I do – I want to return to school, get my Masters in Library Science and become a librarian somewhere I could do good for the community, in a place where books, knowledge and technology could make a huge difference to the population. But I will have to start to following that plan and soon. The summer is winding down; winter's coming soon enough and December 1st will be the first of my application deadlines.

Everything is rolling forward.

It's time.

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