Perspectives & Time

It’s late Sunday night, but not terribly so as I sit here sipping a rather lovely oolong tea from a frog-adorned teacup. I’m waiting for Lucy’s dog food to finish “marinating” on the counter so I can go to bed, which makes this just like pretty much any other late night for the past 5 years or so.

I’m tired from a flurry of activity this weekend – our county fair started Friday, and my husband and I went to concerts both Friday and Saturday nights, plus did some shopping on Saturday. By the time we hit Sunday, we were both running on fumes and had pretty much zero motivation or energy left.

I keep thinking “It’s not that we’re old…” but the fact is, we are, comparatively speaking. When I was young, I practically lived at the fairgrounds during this week every year. I had a zillion 4-H projects on exhibit, and a couple of years I even exhibited small animals (rabbits). I went to every concert and night show I could with my work schedule, all three nights of rodeo, horse racing and bingo with my grandparents, and ate enough food sold along the midway to fuel my teen acne for months. My 4-H exhibitor status got me fair tickets for all seven days, so I spent quite a few afternoons there as well, when I wasn’t at work, anyways. After the night shows, it was time to trawl the midway and ride the rides, looking as good as teen girls can just in case we could catch the eye of a cute cowboy somewhere along the way.

Yes, I wore Wranglers and Ropers and crisp button down shirts back then. With a leather belt hand-tooled by my grandfather and a buckle with my initials on it. Giddy-up! Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, but I still know all the words to “Fishin’ in the Dark” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band…

The year I broke my arm, I had the cast put on a week or so before the fair started. And of course having a cast didn’t stop me – I popped some tylenol and rode all the rides, including the Gravitron, which spun around in circles until you were going so fast that the wall panel you were leaning against rose up to the ceiling. I’m fairly sure that ride helped realign the broken bones in my hand and wrist that year.

Now here we are, sitting at 40 and 51 respectively, and two concerts in a row is enough to knock us both back a day’s worth of energy. Not to mention the toll that eating concession food takes on the skin and body. I was all too happy to make a big salad for dinner tonight. I need my fiber, after all (or my gallbladder does, anyways).

I watch the crowds at those concerts, and the youngsters that look too young to be running around on their own (even though they’re certainly not), and I think of the people who are always wistfully saying they want to go back to that time when they were kids, and had all that energy and optimism for the future.

But I’m not one of those. I had a decent childhood, don’t get me wrong – nothing terribly traumatic or unbearable happened to me, but I’ve always been an “old soul”, and while I enjoyed my teen years well enough, I wasn’t ever really “present” in them. I was always looking to the future, wanting to hurry up and grow up so I could get on with life without the barriers of youth in my way. Even in college I identified more with the non-traditional students than my own peer group (probably because I was working every minute I wasn’t in class), so again, while I enjoyed my time in college, I have no desire to revisit it.

Getting my first real job (the job I have now, incidentally) and buying my first house (both events happened on the same day, which made that one of the absolute best days of my life) was the first time I finally felt like I was living in the present. Like I could slow down and just enjoy life as it came, instead of constantly looking toward the future. I had…arrived, I guess. And it’s been good ever since, despite the ups and downs we all have to weather sometimes.

I’m happy to be where I’m at, I guess is my point. It’s been a hard year this year, and I think we’ve still got more storms to weather before things clear up for a bit, but I’d still rather be 40 and dealing with adult problems than 18 all over again.

And now, the clock just struck midnight (literally), and due to some changes going on at work, I have to be there an hour early on Mondays starting tomorrow (today?). So a little extra sleep would be good, methinks.

If you’re feeling chatty…tell me – are you one of those people who’d like to go back and relive high-school/college again? Or are you just as happy to be an adult and enjoying life as it is now?

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