“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what`s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn`t have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves… for growing up.”
~ The Wonder Years
My cousin Anderson and his wife Liz recently left for a four-month biking trip across South East Asia.
You would think I’d be envious of them. What an adventure, right? The old Reannon would have definitely thought so. But no, as I dropped them off at LAX last week and watched them haul their waterproof packs towards the check-in counter, I didn’t feel even the tiniest twinge of jealousy.
At first I chalked it up to their chosen method of transportation. I mean, I enjoy riding a bicycle as much as the next person…but you know, to the beach, not through the bumpy, unpaved, dirt roads of Cambodia. I also enjoy rollerblading and swimming too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’d ever want to rollerblade to Vietnam or swim to Thailand.
But after I thought about it for a few days, I realized that my having no desire to go with them had nothing to do with saddle butt and everything to with me just wanting to stay in one spot for a while. Holy crap, I know. I don’t get it either.
Could it be that my love for travel wasn’t genuine or authentic; wasn’t the stuff of true love? Maybe it was just a passing crush? A fad? A passionate yet momentary obsession? Could it be that it was all just a stage….and now I’m growing out of it?
I’ve been through this before. When I was in college I went through a hippie stage. I didn’t go as far as sporting dreads or tie-dye, but I became a vegetarian, attended anti-war protests, pro-choice rallies and took up the guitar.
But I must admit here that I was sort of crap at being a hippie. While my Freegan friends were the real thing and went dumpster diving for bags of expired potato chips outside the Lays chip factory, I went on midnight grocery runs to Walmart and ate chicken McNuggets in my car during lunch breaks at McDonald’s.
Maybe it was when I became anemic from too little protein and too many Dorito chip dinners or maybe it was just because caring so freaking much about the world was so much work, but I eventually grew tired of hippiedom and moved out of the house I shared with the jazz musicians… and never looked back.
That was just one of many stages that I’ve outgrown. I remember once, when I was 21 and in the midst of the “Let’s go clubbing! And isn’t Getting Wasted just so much Fun? Stage” I had a conversation with one of my long-time clubbing friends. She was a few years older than me and had moved out of the land of Jaeger shots and beer bongs to a land wholly unfamiliar; one that I couldn’t even begin to imagine.
“Wait, what do you mean you’d rather stay home and watch Harry Potter than go out? Are you okay? Are you sick? What the hell happened?”
“I’m old,” she’d said, as you know, a joke. But although I didn’t say anything I secretly agreed with her. How sad, I’d thought. Not only does she does she not want to go out, she doesn’t even care that she doesn’t want to go out. God help me if I ever feel that way.
Um, yeah…last weekend? I opted to go see the movie The Hangover (with my parents!) rather than risk a hangover by going out clubbing with my friends…yep, I’m so living that reality…and I don’t even care.
Maybe it’s only because I’ve spent the last the four months living on some one’s sofa or futon, but I’m really, really looking forward to (ugly word coming up!) settling down…even if it means still sleeping on the floor (I have no furniture), but at least it’ll be MY floor in MY apartment.
Maybe this mood will change. Maybe I’ll find that once I’ve started working again and have gotten adjusted to life in San Francisco, that I’ll feel replenished and ready to hit the road again. I mean, it’s been known to happen.
Or maybe not. The funny thing about stages is that you don’t know that you’re in one until it’s over. Maybe one day years from now, when I’m in the middle of the “Mommy Stage”, the “Travel Stage” that was my 20’s will seem as far away as the short-lived “Goth Stage” of high school or the “The Little Mermaid Stage” of the second grade. I’ll look at old photos of me in Japan and think: Wow, I was sorta crazy back then. And then I’ll breathe a sigh of relief that I finally outgrew that.