Nothing makes me feel as old, or as young, as spending Christmas at home. Maybe it’s being back in Philadelphia, maybe it’s the nostalgia of the Christmases of years past, and perhaps it’s the fact that my father gets downright giddy around Christmas. It’s quite literally his favorite time of year. While it’s understood – yet never discussed – that my brother and I now know that Santa is not real, our family has been adopted by an elf named Rupert. Rupert helps my parents “make” goodies for my brother and I. My dad frequently calls me when “Rupert” has a question about a new iphone, or when there is a color discrepancy on the part of Rupert’s workshop where the J Crew sweaters are knit. Rupert’s existence illustrates how much my parents, not to mention I, love the child-like wonder of Christmas still.
Another reason I love heading home for the holidays is the fact that I get to see family and friends who I don’t get to see as often as I once did. This year, with these reunions came tons questions about this blog. Some love it and some don’t quite understand it. I heard a lot of, “So how long will this go on?” and “What are you going to do once you find what you are looking for?”
To be honest, I didn’t have terribly good answers for them. I have not exactly thought through how long I will be on this journey, or what I will do when I find my next passion in life.
All these questions pushed me into a state of self-reflection and a little bit of doubt. What am I doing? Is this whole thing totally childish? Once I find something that I am passionate about, what am I going to do, quit my job and become a glass blower full-time? Doubtful, but who knows. Have I let narcissism — disguised as a witty blog – take over my life? Or is it actually the opposite: am I am living my life (fully engaged in my life, as my mother describes it) in a spirited way and sharing it with perfect strangers for (hopefully) their entertainment?
This dichotomy is not unlike my life itself. I have shiny empowering moments when think to myself, “Wow, I am totally an adult.” I also have sad little moments when I still feel like a seven-year old on roller-skates in a tutu. These moments can range from a bad day at work that leaves me bemoaning to my parents, to a moment of recognizing the ridiculous as I struggle to keep my head above water while learning synchronized swimming. I call this purgatory that I vacillate between the state of being “adultish.”
I wonder sometimes if I am the only human on the planet who feels adultish. Maybe it’s the product of the sociology of my generation of having a prolonged adolescence. But I’ve done some research, and it seems that most of those theories are generally applied to man/boys, so I don’t think I have that as an excuse.
Maybe trying all these different things is less a sign of immaturity, and more a signal that I am taking control of my life, and working to discover what I am passionate about, in a very mature – albeit humorous — way.
I once asked my dad when he finally felt like an adult. I thought his answer might be the day I was born, or when his parents passed away. Those seem like joyous and heartbreaking milestones that would press one into self-examination and maturity. But to my delight, my dad replied without missing a beat, “I’ll let you know when that day comes.”
And so I take a page from of his book; I’ll keep taking on these crazy adventures in this new year; I’ll search for what I am passionate about, and I will let you know when I become an adult. ‘Til then, I will revel – both on these pages and in my non-blog life — in being adultish.