Lately I've been getting the sense that I'm not as much of an adult as I probably ought to be. For a world-weary girl who has been called mature for her age since she was ten, this is an extremely unusual way to feel. It's not necessarily a bad thing, just a foreign one. And it's probably better than the alternative--that is, feeling burdened and close to breaking under the weight of grown-up responsibility. Which isn't to say I don't sometimes get a wave of that, but it passes.
Part of it's a product of living alone. When you live alone, especially in a house (be it ever so humble), you've got a lot of space to rattle around in. I feel perpetually as though my parents are away for the weekend and hot DIGGETY, I get to eat popcorn for dinner and turn up the stereo and invite a boy over later on. Ah, sweet freedom. Sometimes I drive home from work feeling palpably excited about just hanging around the house on my own terms. This only gets worse as gardening season approaches and all I want to do is plant myself in the backyard and listen to leaves growing. Okay then, that’s ONE thing that’s changed--back when my parents used to go away and leave me in charge, I’d routinely kill something in the garden, or else refuse to clean out the koi pond on account of my crippling fear that one of the goldfish would touch my hand. Maybe I’ve grown up more than I thought. Although I still wouldn’t put my fingers in a fish pond for love or money.
Another part of it's the fundamental conflict at the root of where my life is these days. The thing about being single and in your thirties is that you've got the confidence and self-assuredness that comes with supporting yourself through thick and thin. It's exhausting, to be sure, but god DAMN if it isn't empowering, too. Running parallel to that confidence, though, is the creeping fear that you've somehow missed some crucial boat. It's a daily battle, I find, reminding yourself that you've done the right thing. Of course it's the right thing, because it's the thing you chose, the thing you made happen, your steps on the road. Sometimes it feels like they're steps backward. Don't forget to tell yourself they're not. It's never a bad thing to hold onto autonomy, to hold onto carelessness, to hold onto naive optimism.
There will still be moments of doubt, of course. So how to cope? By leaning into it, I guess. On a lunch break from work I put on rubber boots and a wooly hat I've owned since highschool, walk around the same neighbourhood I walked around when I was skipping classes fifteen or so years ago. I put my headphones on and lose myself in the same old songs (mostly the same old songs, anyway--there's always room in my heart for a new jam). There's something comforting about just putting one foot in front of the other, and listening, and letting go. All you have to do is keep walking. The ground will hold you up, the melody will pull you along. This part's easy.