I can remember all the years of wishing I would grow up already, so I could go out and do cool things — go to clubs, smoke, drink and drive a car - but I can’t remember the precise moment I began to call myself a grown-up. Maybe it was when I owned my first vacuum cleaner and stopped having to drive to West Hollywood to borrow’s my friend’s every time I wanted to clean my apartment. Or maybe it was when I rented my first place on my own, or moved in with a guy. I don’t really know.
I used to think that once you were a grown-up, that’s all you would stay until you died, I guess, just kind of hanging out in that status. But after days like today, I’m pretty convinced that the process of becoming an adult never stops.
I say that because, well, hopefully we never stop growing and changing. Hopefully we never stop developing into the people we’re meant to be. I had a few opportunities to explore that dynamic today, first during a screening of The Descendants, a beautiful, simple film about the complexities of life and love, and secondly when I lost one of my favorite earrings later in the evening.
Leave it to circumstances that have nothing to do with what’s really going on under the surface to teach you just how much you invest things with emotions and meaning, and how much that really mean nothing of the sort. A movie is a movie and an earring is an earring, to coin a reframe, not a memory or a ghost of consciousness or a person who did you wrong in the past.
Maybe it’s really being a grown-up if you can notice yourself reacting to these moments and choosing not to take the bait, or refuse to go as far down the emotional road as you’re used to traveling. Maybe it means stopping a pattern of self-harm, or extending the pain any further. Best to cut that shit off at the source.
Mr. Springsteen? This sounds like the story of my life.