On Aging, Part II

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So it seems that my desire to be a kid again is only growing. I was at Target today and this little girl next to me at self-checkout was so excited about getting to buy something with her own money. In my head I thought, “Oh just wait until you get older. It stops being that exciting.” When we’re kids, we want so desperately to be older and “mature”. I actually don’t remember feeling that particularly strong about getting to be an adult but the idea of being able to buy whatever I wanted at the grocery store (or any store really) was certainly appealing.

I’ve been drowning myself in 90s nostalgia too: podcasts, music, TV shows, those lists entitled things like “30 Ways You Know You Grew Up in the 90s”. It helps that pop culture now has brought so many things from that era back anyway, so everything is pretty readily accessible. I think I’m just holding on as tight as I can to anything that reminds me of when I was younger, when things were more simple.

I’m proud of myself for living on my own. I’m proud I’m able to support myself. But there’s no doubt that it’s hard. When you’re older, you’re still, in a lot of ways, having to deal with all of the things you were dealing with as a kid: self-acceptance, belonging, wanting to be loved. The school and homework part might be gone (unless you’re getting advanced degrees), but you still have to try to figure all of that out on top of paying rent, health insurance, car payments, bills, savings, 401ks, and huge life decisions. And if you make the wrong one, there’s no one there to fix it for you. It’s all on you. There’s no how-to manual on making all of the right decisions all the time or how to avoid bad things happening (because you can’t). They just do and then you have to figure out a way to deal with them, oftentimes on your own.

I think I’ve been increasingly nostalgic lately too as a result of losing my grandma. I know she’s in a better place now and I know she’s at peace but selfishly, I would give anything to be a kid who had grandparents again. All of my grandparents are gone now and I haven’t quite figured out a way to cope with that fact. I saw a little girl sitting at the table with her grandparents at Ruby’s the other day and had to hold back the tears.

I think I’m just going through a particularly rough patch right now and whenever that happens, I tend to attach a lot to being younger and I also get the desire to flee. I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to just get on a plane and go somewhere these past couple of months. You can’t run away from your problems, but boy can you put a temporary hold on them when you travel or get away.

In reality, and in some small attempt to leave this post with a minute amount of positivity, there are good things and bad things about being a kid and being an adult. I’m much more self-assured now than I was. I’m much less shy and self-conscious. Even though I don’t speak up as much as I should, or would like to, I know I do it more than I used to. I live less in fear. I’m able to travel. Little Jackie had it pretty damn good but I think Adult Jackie needs to remind herself she still has it pretty good too.

photo credit: Vormingplus Gent-Eeklo vzw Adult Helping Senior In Hospital via photopin (license)

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