My birthday came and went and I never did sit down to write a word.
Why? Because I'm thirty-seven. That's a vague number, lacking direction. I'm edging into my late thirties, but not forty. I'm too old to be sitting on the door frame of speeding vehicles, holding on to the granny handle and hanging out the window; yet not old enough to be an old woman, wearing purple and knocking fence-posts with my cane. I'm in a strange no-man's-land of adulthood and sensibility. I don't much care for it.
Lately I've had an intense desire to be completely impractical. I want to do crazy things: drive all day to nowhere, dance in the street, move to a log cabin surrounded by trees. I want to make art, learn to play an instrument. If it weren't for the pesky alcoholism, I'd round it all off with a few thousand rounds of beer--but see, that's the pesky alcoholic talking. I'd like to spend all my money at the stamping store and eat eclairs every night for supper. Anything, anything but sensible.
Sensible runs completely counter to my sense of self, you see. I am a person who has, at several critical moments, trashed everything and started over, and always with brilliant results. I've wandered around on the Eurail system, slept behind the steering wheel, lived in a cabin for months with no running water. I've had my fun with collection calls ("Please phone Mrs Rickenbacker at Citi Card Services immediately"), near-eviction, avoidable illness and arrest. I have had many incredible friends and even more brushes with remarkable people, few of whom were sensible.
Unfortunately, in the Year of Thirty-Seven I have a job, kids, a marriage, and a car payment. It's downright disappointing. My once-bold gypsy life has aged.
Is this why people dislike growing old? Because it's the same as growing up?
Well, dammit, I refuse to grow up completely. I will still play my music too loud and laugh too long. I will still remember where I come from: a place that was free and full of risks, icy and thrilling with aliveness.
And I'll wait for it to come again.