There is something about getting older that haunts me. Even though, looking back, my life has only gotten better as I have gotten older, there are still parts of me that long for carefree youth. I still have a lot of wonder over things that could have been. If I had changed sooner, or things had been different for me growing up, or I had matured faster, maybe my life would be in a completely different place. I think it’s natural to have regrets, but I oscillate between having none and having all. It’s funny, because most of this angst is a result of my inability to let go of the past; a true conundrum.
When I was young, I did things that would terrify me now. I threw myself into everything with reckless abandon. My lack of confidence and, yet, my overabundance of bravado and ego were completely contradictory. I was always worried: where would the money come from for booze? Would I get a good grade on that test? Did that guy like me? And other times, nothing stopped me: I have $4 in my checking account and would buy cigarettes that cost $3.83. I drank too much the night before a paper deadline and wrote it in 20 minutes the same morning it was due. I slept with a guy the first time I met him because, why not? That’s the thing about being a kid, “You’re old enough to know better, but still too young to care.” One time, I skipped a class where a giant midterm paper was due, drove from Michigan to North Carolina with my friends to go to a Marine’s Ball with some guys my friends knew from high school that went into the service, partied with them all weekend, and drove 100 miles an hour home a few days later to get back in time for a class, all with $70 in my bank account. Thirty five year old me shudders.
Gosh, I miss those days, the thrill of whatever when I was in college. Wednesday night? Let’s get fucked up. Bored? Let’s go break into the boy’s fraternity. No plans? Let’s sit in our dorm and watch bad movies on repeat. The who I am, the where I am going, the where I might want to be? None of it mattered then. All that mattered was the moment. No finances, no jobs, no parents, no rules. Things felt really complicated and complex: the emotions, the lessons, the hardships. But looking back, they were some of the easiest times of my life.
It’s hard to think that those days are gone. In reality, they have been gone for a lot longer than I would like to admit. It’s been 13 years since I graduated from college. I kept up some of the charade of youth well into my late twenties, but in earnest, life has already changed. But, there is something about bringing another life into this world that punctuates it. It feels like the door has not only been shut, but slammed and dead bolted. It feels fleeting to know that even for one moment, I might not ever feel that way again: that invincibility that nothing can stop me; that I might not ever get older.
I think its okay to grieve changes, even when they are for the best. We move on and grow up, because that is what we are supposed to do in life. It doesn’t mean we won’t miss the road that got us here. I think Jeff and I did a pretty good job in the past months leading to this. We took advantage of our last days together as a twosome, going to concerts and movies and games, embarking on trips, having fancy dinners, and overall enjoying our time together. It’s okay to mourn that, even though I know that the best is yet to come. But just like sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I forget, for a split second, that I am pregnant, that’s how I feel right now. I just want to forget, for an instant, that we are getting older.