Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cleaning Out the Garage or New Life Chapters

The thing is - you get married and you just sort of climb into that big pot of water, next to the frog and you sit down and just hang out.  And the water boils...and time moves on...quickly. You are blissfully unaware of the passing of time save for the occasional size clean out of your kids clothes.  You wipe a tear when you find last years school picture or an old toy, but you overall keep working to get somewhere.

It's the anticipation of the top of the first drop in a roller coaster that keeps you distracted. Life is a roller coaster. There is a top, a jumping off point. You are working to get to that crest, where you can look out with satisfaction over the horizon and hang on for the awesome ride down...

Only you KNOW when you are at the top of a roller coaster. Life's top is elusive. It is the "yonder" of living. A generality that draws a slightly out of focus picture.

Growing up, I used to ask my grandmother where something was, she would always gesture her hand in a direction and say, "Oh that's down yonder." I could be asking where the towels were or where the video store was and it would always be yonder.

For those not southern, yonder basically means, "Look I don't feel like explaining where it is, but it isn't right here in my hand." It's yonder *flails hand in a direction* which in the case of the towels meant you just needed to shut up and go find them.

The halfway point of life isn't here, it's yonder. *flails hand in a direction*

You don't get there. You don't linger. You don't look around and savor that you "got somewhere"  You just sort of end up racing downhill thinking, "Oh geez when did that happen?"

When did my music become oldies?

When did I become ma'am?

When did I get to this weird space where I'm older than everyone but I actually fully believe I'm the younger one?

Today we cleaned out the garage. I'm fine with it. Really.

Yes, we can get rid of the crib...no problem. It got recalled like two weeks after my oldest was born anyway.  Plus. Babies. Done. Check.

The wagon we used one time? Okay? I was still holding out hope that we'd use it a few more times but we can't even get to it where it has been wedged in between the Christmas decorations and the Recycling bin. So fine, toss it.

But then at some point I came across a bin with my name on it, and when I opened it, I came face to face with myself from ages 16-27. It was full of photo albums and notes and awards and wedding invitations and graduation paraphernalia. It was over a decade of me. Who I was. Who my friends were. What I thought. What I wanted out of life.

It wasn't really about the stuff in the box, okay a little bit it was. After all, I had a fascinating hair evolution. But it was more about what that box represented.

It was like getting reacquainted with an old friend. One I liked. Yes, she was a tad melodramatic and had unbelievable amounts of free time that she squandered, but she had great taste in music and most importantly she had big dreams.

Somewhere over the last several years, I had simply lost track of this fiery dreamer.

I honestly don't know what happened in that garage today.  One moment I'm a steel magnolia of emotional memory tossing and the next I'm sifting through my sweet sixteen birthday party pictures, tearing up while hearing See You at the Crossroads playing on a loop in my head.

Yes by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony...the battle cry of my youthful angst (perceived).

It's hard to think, but my stuff is memories.  And like - some are kind of distant ones.  I now describe things that were 25 or 30 years ago and my kids look at me incredulously when I talk about days of no internet and no cell phones or what the heck a pager was even useful for. A question, by the way, that I CANNOT answer.

Me talking to my kids about the days of yore: You sent a page to tell someone to call you. Yes, that meant they had to go find a phone. Why didn't they just have a phone? Look, no more questions, okay. 

I give up in frustration as my kids stare at me in honest confusion. I recognize the looks.  It's the same way I looked at my parents when they talked about four t.v. channels and a test pattern that indicated that the t.v. was off for the night or when my dad calls detergent, soap powders.

They look at me like I'm a dinosaur.

I am roughly 7 months into my 40's. I have two boys who are developmentally getting more independent everyday. I have fully climbed out of the storm shelter that is babyhood - where you hand yourself over at the door so you can bring babies in to the world.

And although being a work from home mom means I still sometimes take a conference call while simultaneously jumping up and down on a towel to clean up the urine on the floor, (is it the dog, is it the kid? Does it even matter anymore?) I know I am staring ahead at a new chapter in my life.

And I'm not at all saying that chapter is bad. I'm SO looking forward to peeing alone. I hear it's amazing.

It's just strange. And these nostalgic, emotional feelings hit me when I'm not expecting it.

Like when we're trying to clean out the garage and my husband is asking me if I want to keep the Christmas tree skirt and I'm clutching a picture of myself with freshly crimped hair and big hoop earrings wondering what happened to my Caboodles.  

So I guess...here's to new chapters, Salt and Pepa being oldies and clean garages.

Cheers, Gen X-ers, we can rock this half of our lives too.

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