This is not a silver lining post.
Last week I wrote that line on my notepad as I navigated my car underneath a tunnel and away from a parking lot I had just took a U-turn in. A few minutes before that, I found myself asking an insurance representative to hold the phone call so I could grab a loose ticket from the parking machine only to then have to explain to the parking attendant that I just want to get back on the road. Twenty minutes before that, I was on hold waiting for the insurance company to tell me why medical bills from my husband’s surgery kept coming. Two hours before that, I was number 91 at the vital records office trying to get my son’s birth certificate after my failed but dedicated attempt to locate this lost document I’m certain I have somewhere in my house. And three days before that, I agonized over details of the kids’ passport documents.
I told myself as I balanced my phone on one ear and listened to the GPS with the other that I wouldn’t try to forget what had nagged at me that day. I wouldn’t find the silver lining in this one; I’d just let it be what it was.
There are times when being an adult sucks.
All that independence we wanted growing up didn’t quite add up to the look of a disgruntled, responsible person waiting in line at the post office and begging her kids to stop lying flat-belly on the floor while sliding trucks back and forth. The yearning we had to start, to finally begin, it didn’t look in our minds like the woman making a mad dash of errands on her lunch break. To deposit a check. Get a registration packet. Stop at Kroger’s to get goldfish crackers for kids’ lunches. Run to Kohl’s to get the kids outfits they need for upcoming photo session. Smooth out the lines. Put on some gloss. And get back to work in time for a meeting.
Sometimes being an adult is being that person waiting on hold with your doctor’s office and trying to understand medical jargon after you’ve pulled into a shopping plaza. On those days, you’d be tempted to trade a bit of that autonomy for the days when your parents just took care of that shit, the unglamorous grit of daily life.
I’m glad I got to simmer on this for a bit before I had the chance to write. Through that space, I entered into another one that even my own natural optimism couldn’t carve. I watched Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and was able to see my reflection back at me, nodding at me and saying, there’s a time where we all look that way. It’s inevitable.
I think I was seeing myself in the eyes of my teenage self that day in the car. I was judging myself and then in turn getting angrier at the constant work adult and parent life includes. While paying bills and unloading the dishwasher after a really long day, it’s just hard to be that marvelous, ambitious youth that looks into the open sky and says artfully, “You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kind of thinking it’s the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.”
Thankfully, this is what real friends, George Ezra, and a big Ferris wheel are for–to ignite spontaneity and shake off our dust-laden youth.