Every once in awhile, us older broads get all wistful about our lapsed youth. While we are loading the dishwasher, cleaning the toilet, wiping a baby's butt or paying bills, our minds will slip back to a simpler time where our concerns were about whether or not a cute boy noticed us... or what John Hughe's movie we were going to watch at the slumber party... or what hairspray to use to make your bangs the biggest. Then we sigh and go about our current demanding adult life, the one that we so eagerly yearned for and fantasized about when we were young. The one, that in our dreams, came with big boobs, great stillettos, a fantastic job and candlelit dinners alongside dashing men with chin clefts. The adult life that, in reality, brings relentless responsibilities, sagging boobs, never enough money, ratty yoga pants, unwashed hair and hamburger surprise. And we realize that we hardly ever wear those stillettos in the closet and our husband doesn't even HAVE a cleft in his chin and we probably got totally screwed somewhere along the not-so-golden road to adulthood. Then we sigh again and remember how much we just wanted to be Molly Ringwold's character in 16 Candles.
But then, there are those magical moments where we get a blast from the past that fills us with accurate memories of our childhood.
While cleaning out a trunk the other day, I discovered a box of treasures from a camp I attended in my youth. With fond thoughts of my impressionable pubescent self, I eagerly dug through the items. In the dusty cardboard box, I found a small book which, in 1988, I had listed the following quote as my favorite: "It's love that makes the world go around, but laughter that keeps it from getting dizzy."
I took a deep breath and exhaled relief. My young self did not disappoint! I was such an intuitively mature 13 year old! That is exactly how I feel today, in my mid to late thirties! It's still true- I really do try to find love in everything that I do, but laughter is the meat in my stew.
My pulse quickened with excitement as I ignored my childrens' shrieks behind me and continued to paw through the faded contents of my box of childhood memories. I couldn't wait to see what other pearls of wisdom that adolescent Johi had masterminded!
My hand clasped a blue journal with the title The unexamined life is not worth living. Know thyself. A journal! My own thoughts! I greedily snatched it from the box, eager to read more of the innocent sagacity from my 13 year old self. I noted that the paperback ledger was from a camp adventure called a "Solo", where you are cast into the dark, terrifying wilderness with merely a backpack. The backpack was filled with a few items of clothing, a water bottle, a flashlight, a plastic bag, a sleeping bag, a journal, a pen, one candy bar and one apple. You are to employ your keen endurance skills in the rugged Rocky Mountains for an entire 24 hours with only those meager items and your innermost thoughts- which are to be recorded in the sky blue diary. I thought to myself, "Near Starvation and Primal Survival! That is a beautiful formula for organic brilliance!"
As I opened the book, I felt the familiar wave of clammy heat wash through my pores. Thinking that this book contained some long forgotten innate wisdom, I was excited, yet nervous to read the deep thoughts of my tween self. I yelled at my children, "Share or I'm taking that toy away!" and I focused on the new found tiny treasure that was sure to contain great insight. Then I read.... and I tilted my head as I devoured the words.... and I furrowed my brow and read some more.... and I was awash in a fresh sheen of perspiration and I read.... and I snorted in disgust and read until the end. Then I gently shut my eyes, closed the book and threw it across the room.
The blue journal, which I had envisioned revealing some abandoned magnanimous insight, contained the biggest load of vapid bullshit that I had ever laid eyes upon. Seriously, lines like "... this swimsuit is creeping up my butt...geez! It's like a permanent wedgie" and "...my feet are purple and they are not even cold! Maybe it is because there is a hole in my sleeping bag." and "I ate all of my food and I'm starving. All I can think about is 'poppin' fresh dough' and melted butter!" and my favorite, which I repeated multiple times, "I have to pee." I was so disappointed in myself.
In that moment I decided that being 37 and worrying about wrinkles and weird stretch marks was fine. In fact, I'll take my almost fully developed brain and weird twitchy right eye any day over an immature mind that can only conjure up vacant drivel. God Bless a higher education! God Bless sex without guilt and shame! God Bless self confidence! God Bless martinis! God Bless MIDDLE AGE! (But the bills and the dead food in the fridge can go fuck themselves)
I have a new found appreciation for that race to the finish line where they award you AARP card that offers you lower prices on movie tickets, hair cuts and food. (Kind of like a student discount, or the '12 and Under' bargain) I love that no one can tell me to stop reading. (Well, my kids do, but I mostly ignore them) I am grateful that I can find so many fascinating and adult topics to discuss with my mature friends. (Come back next week, I'm giving away a vibrator and maybe a unicorn!!!!) I am thrilled that I can watch any movie, with any rating, at any time. (I'm probably watching Mean Girls, one of my favorites, tonight. I think it is AT LEAST PG-13.)
Now, if you'll excuse me, these underwear are irritating me because they are riding up my crack and I really, really have to pee.
Peace, Love and Endless Immaturity,