If I had to define adulthood, I would do so like a rebellious teenager: differently from everyone else on purpose. I would omit any reference to property ownership, family and most definitely income. Adulthood according to me is about something more than all of that stuff. I would define adulthood as the continuous search for meaning. If at last you have arrived at a definition for that meaning, you are no longer an adult — which is not to say that I know what happens after adulthood. Have you ever noticed that, Linc? First there is childhood and then everyone makes a big deal out of growing up. But no one has really defined what happens after adulthood — senior citizenship? Incontinence and a wisecracking old bat? Is that all life is: you’re born, you’re young, you want to be older, and then liver spots?
It feels self-serving of me to characterize my life so far as a search. But that is exactly what it is and where I may be self-serving I may as well also acknowledge the plain truth. First, back to the matter of adulthood: I suppose there is one traditional aspect of it that I accept, which is that lately I have demanded that even my dreamy states must have purpose. As such, in these last two days that I had off from work, I have as much escaped as I have done something productive. (Though it’s a mystery to me why aging must necessarily bring with it the notion that each day we have to have gotten something done.)
When I have not escaped to rocky trails and clumsily courting peril along the ocean, I have watched movies. (I like small neighborhood theatres the best. Multiplexes are much too grandiose for the romantic sense of escape natural to movies.) When I have not been at the movies, I have lost myself at the bookstore — not my own, nor one of its other locations, but another one that is older, mustier and is still a bookstore without reminding me of work. It is here that I have spent my Friday evening, my final night before being dumped back into reality. I know there is a game on right now but I have not endeavored to keep up with the score, preferring instead the vacation in my head: the bookstore as an airport, its products both my ticket and plane. I just need to get away, Linc. And if I can’t actually be at the ballgame… all or nothing.
I was browsing a variety of different books along these narrow aisles and as is the timeless custom of bookworms I would continuously find many that I wanted to read. Also, I’m biding my time until I see that new Clint Eastwood movie. (See how baseball always manages to stick around?) What has occurred to me is that all my life, picking up books and watching movies, and this likely includes baseball itself, has meant one endless search. I am searching for a story to which I can relate. I am searching for explanations, if not answers, that make sense of all that I’m feeling and all that is happening around me. And then what? What happens if I’ve finally found whatever it is I’m looking for? What if, I suddenly realized with horror, that one day arrived when I no longer had want of picking up a book or seeing a movie? Up until this moment I had never thought about the terror that comes after you have actually gotten what you want. I wonder if this might be why the obscenely wealthy are so obscenely wealthy. They have nothing else to do except to want, and in the process doomed to lives without answers.
- sarka posted this