Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Rapidly Ageing Young Adult Celebrates New Year’s Eve

I’m moving into a new phase in which the most mundane details of life excite me terribly. Homeowners’ insurance, self-employment taxes, upholstery, eyeglass prescriptions, fabric store coupons. The clean way you can slice the stem off Swiss chard by making a v-shape with your knife.

The author at age 32.

Computer simulation allows us to view what the author will look like at age 32.

In fact, this is the first New Year’s Eve that I plan to enjoy from the comfort of my own couch: sweatpants, electric blanket, $2.99 streamed movie from Amazon. And I’m excited about it.  This is normal for thirty, right? I mean, I was delighted to be called “mature” by my second-grade teacher over two decades ago, but that word takes on a new meaning as the years pass, and now it has vague ties to gray hair and a growling disposition.

Anyway. It’s exhausting to be so old & wise.

Minnesota is cold again, so cold that the dog sleeps for 14 hours a day, buried in her pop-up tent, and the draft our landlord promised to fix 2 years ago winds merrily around the living room, knocking Christmas cards off the refrigerator.

That’s cool, though, because we bought a freaking house and are moving soon. No big deal.

Life has been very good to us.

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Read: Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn

Reading: Alice Munro’s Dear Life

Watched: Anna Karenina

Hoping to get Lovie to agree to watch: The Hobbit

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The Spiritual Life of the 30-Year-Old (or: House-hunting is Suffering)

Now that I’m 30, everything around me seems to be oozing with spiritual significance. I’m assuming this is a normal part of approaching the age when your mind and body briefly meet in the middle, as the mind grows deeper and wiser but the body hits its peak and starts to get–like, more tired? Not as eager to stay up past 10 o’clock? And kind of sore in the ankles and wrists? Etc.

But I love getting older and feeling like every experience I have is some kind of teacher. An example: we’re house-hunting. Which, I’m learning, is a bizarre paradox of life–you spend months or longer doing painstaking research and analysis of neighborhoods and combing through every inch of your finances, knowing the final result of all that work is a go-with-your-gut quick decision in which you and your partner look at each other, give the OMG This Is It look, and say, “Let’s make an offer.”

At which point, your sweet suburban realtor will make a fast and frowning phone call, where she learns that the owners have actually already accepted an offer. And it was just a few hours ago. And maybe this happens twice in one week.

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That Which We Cannot Have

Yeah. So there’s patience in all this, and non-attachment. This could be a real downer, but it’s actually a good experience to have if you consider all of life to be one great spiritual journey–which you do, because I already told you that you’re 30 and life is different now. (Sleeping more, ankles, etc.) And when life chucks you some curve balls, you almost feel grateful for the chance to practice catching them. (You also feel very self-conscious now about using Feel-Good phrases like that, but let’s not kid anyone–in twenty years you’ll be the old hippie handing out dreamcatchers on Halloween, so you might as well OWN IT now.)

I also just read The Hobbit for the first time, and am working on Lord of the Rings, and it’s blowing my mind that I didn’t read these books when I was a kid. Because didn’t you see me, skulking around in my parents’ backyard with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, dragging a Radio Flyer full of canned goods and flashlights, muttering to myself about Going on a Pilgrimage? That kid would have loved the shit out of Tolkien.