On Growing Up (and how I don't want to)

No one prepared me for growing up. It sounded liberating, fun, exciting. To move out, get a good paying job, having the freedom to do whatever I want. I loved the sound of that. But I’m tired all the time and I have no motivation to do anything more than the bare minimum. It’s boring, I tried to frame errands in a fun way that made them sound like I’m on some big adventure but it’s just going to the store and buying milk because I’m somehow always out of milk when I want a late-night bowl of cereal. Or it’s going to pick up a prescription but it’s not ready yet- should I wait for it? Or should I make use of these 15 minutes and go do something else I had to do today. And this was supposed to be my day off? My one day off this week? And I’m stuck at the store for 15 minutes because my prescription wasn’t ready yet. If this is what adulthood is then I want no part in it.

But that’s not all there is. There are concerts I don’t have to ask permission to go to, there are vacations I can take without my parents arguing every time we get in the car. There’s still fun to be had, it just feels less fun because I actually need the time off to recuperate from the long work week I just had. Being an adult is exhausting, and I’m not ready to grow up, but maybe I’m looking at it wrong. Maybe it’s more than just going to work and running errands. Because there’s also buying myself that new video game I’ve been wanting since I first heard about it, there’s playing it until 2 am and regretting it in the morning, but I’m still on that high you get when you first play a game that I don’t even realize I’m tired. I’m just counting down the minutes until I can play again.

Or, more personally, there’s staying up all night writing a new story I thought of during work and quickly wrote down on receipt paper so I would remember it when I got home. There’s the six hours straight of writing and editing and planning and more writing and more editing and it’s somehow all fun because I finally, after months of writer’s block, have something to write about again. I thought I had lost the ability to write, every time I tried to it came out as utter nonsense. As if I had written it on no sleep and too much caffeine (which was sometimes the case, but that’s beside the point). When I wrote this new story, it was like I was 12 again and just realizing my love for writing. The possibilities are endless and thank god I can type fast because the words come so fast, you’d think I’m on a deadline. But I’m only just beginning.

When it’s warm outside and life is good again (besides the bugs, the bees, and the humidity)

It’s warm now for the first time

in a long time.

I wasn’t sure winter would ever end,

but it did now.

Now it’s warm nights and sunny mornings,

sipping coffee

as the trees bloom all around me.

I’ve never known joy,

at least not like I know it now,

but I know it now.

invincible

There’s something beautiful about a big open field; I used to dream about them. The endless green grass, wild flowers growing arbitrarily, wandering around them aimlessly. It’s a kind of calm bliss only achievable in a big open field, unaccompanied on a sunlit day. Maybe it’s something to do with how I spent my childhood, often around fields of lush grass and the soft sound of people just out of sight. Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for them, they bring back fond memories from a time I only vaguely remember.

A gentle breeze passes, I feel sempiternal, unbreakable, invincible. Laying in the grass, I listen to the birds sing, the faint sounds of cars and people, just far enough away to not be bothersome, but still close enough so I don’t feel alone. I’m at peace, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Simpler Times

There’s something about nostalgia

I obsess over it.

Most of my tattoos are tied to it,

half of my wardrobe is related to it.

I attach myself to the past,

it’s difficult to let it go,

it’s too easy to reflect on,

to reminisce about the Simpler Times.

I find myself playing old games from my childhood,

going for walks where I spent so much time as a child,

but why?

I’m often let down,

the games aren’t what they used to be,

the walks cluttered with litter and nosy people,

but I find myself drawn to it all.

Maybe it’s something to do with the simplicity of it

and how nothing ever seems as simple as back then.

It’s beautiful in the saddest fashion,

how I will never again relive those memories,

and every day they’ll fade more

until I hardly remember them at all.

Summer Nostalgia

I live by the beach, on the little peninsula of eastern Massachusetts known as Cape Cod. I have mixed feelings about living here; it’s expensive, summers are hectic and infested with tourists, winters are slow and dull. I’m not a huge fan of the beach, either, but the other night I was driving home from work, windows down since it’s finally warm enough for that, and I smelled the salt water marsh. It brought back a flood of memories and an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.

I’ve been dreaming about moving off cape for years now; it’s not exactly plausible, but it’s a dream of mine. But when I smelled the salt water, a part of me hesitated. I vividly remembered sitting on a towel on the crowded beach as a child. I remembered playing in the hot sand, picking up handfuls of it and letting it soothingly, slowly trickle off my hands and back onto the beach. I remembered the smell of the ocean, the salty air, taking that first step on the beach in my flip flops. The sand tough to walk on, so I quickly slip my shoes off and feel the hot sand on my bare feet, my brother and I running to an open spot, perfect for us to put our blankets down on.

I reminisced on the hot beating summer sun, soothed only by the winds that come and go. Laying out in the sun until we were sweating, bored, and needed to cool down in the ocean. Taking that first dip in the water, finally cool. Crouching down in the knee-deep water so as to submerge ourselves in the water as soon as possible, holding our heads just above the water as we crawl deeper into the ocean. Finally, we can stand comfortably in shoulder-deep water, laughing and splashing each other.

We’d plug our noses and dip our heads under the water for as long as we can, holding a contest for who can stay under longer. My brother shows me how he can do a flip under the water, and I show him I can do a handstand. Our mom tells us to be careful. We laugh and play for a while, until our hands get wrinkly and our stomachs are rumbling for lunch.

Lost in daydreams of my childhood, I came back to real life and realized I had already driven all the way home. I shook my head at the fact that one smell can bring back memories I haven’t thought about in years. Sure, I still want to move off cape, and I think more seriously about it every day, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss it. I’ve lived here my whole life, my entire childhood was spent on the beach, baseball fields, the bike path, and my own backyard. When I leave, I’ll be leaving all these memories. Though I don’t have set in stone plans to move any time soon, I’ve been extra nostalgic lately as I drive down the streets I know by heart, worrying someday I might forget them.

Someday, I’ll be coming back to visit my parents, after living somewhere else for years, and I might need directions to go to the grocery store that I currently go to on a weekly basis. I might not remember the name of the street the baseball fields I used to spend summers at. I might be reminiscing with a friend on our childhoods and I won’t be able to remember the name of that park we had so many picnics at, the one that was a dog park for a week a few years ago. We brought our dog Lily there and she made so many friends that week. What if I forget that even happened?

I get that it’s a part of moving on, growing up, I know I’ll make more memories wherever I move, and I’ll know those streets like I know these ones, I just can’t help but feel nostalgic. All these memories made me into the person I am today, part of me worries I’ll lose the childlike wonder I still have if I move away and forget my past.