will I ever
I have to warn you: This is not a happy post. Nor a funny one. Nor a helpful one. Nor a pretty one. Proceed at your own discretion. You have been warned.
What I want to say today is the following: Will I ever grow up?
Maybe you are one of those people who believe that growing up is very much overrated and your first reaction right now is to say: ‘Girl, why would you want to? Be glad you’re not grown up!’
Or maybe you are one of those who never had to think about it because your growing up just happened and you’re thinking right now: ‘What are you talking about woman? You’re thirty years old, of course you’re grown up.’ (Okay, maybe you didn’t know my age, but let’s assume you did.)
I used to think that all grown-ups knew what they wanted and had sound reasons for the things that they did. I’m still not fully over the shock of discovering, somewhere in the middle of adolescence, that grown-ups had no clue themselves. They were only figuring things out as they went along themselves, and often they went along blindly. Sometimes I still wish that realization had never happened.
Let’s take a quick look at what being grown up means. Of course, what that really means is that I am looking at what it means to me. And there are two sides to it. There is the emotional, inner side. On that side it means taking responsibility for yourself. Knowing what you want and having a goal. Knowing how to go about achieving it. Knowing yourself. Being secure in your identity. Knowing what are your passions, what are your weaknesses and how to keep each in balance.
Then there is the factual, outer side. On that side it means having a place to live. Paying taxes. Dealing with bureaucracy. Saving money. Taking care of retirement. Having financial stability. Owning furniture, a car, a computer or TV. Having stability. Having a plan.
(I’m leaving out anything relationship-related, like a partner or kids or friends, because that relies on other people as well as yourself.)
I’m afraid of the outer part. I long for the inner part.
Unfortunately, I can’t really get around paying taxes and dealing with bureaucracy, but I can refuse to own furniture or a car or thinking of and planning for retirement – and I do – but I really can’t imagine being without a computer. Half-half, I guess.
As to the inner part… I used to have no idea who I was. I made it up as I went along. I’ve become much better at being honest with myself, listening to my own voice, getting to know myself. Especially the last two years have done wonders for me in that area. I still have problems with knowing what I want, and even more, with knowing how to go about achieving what I want. Or how to be able to stick with it.
Today, more than on any other day recently, I feel like my mind is just a big swarm of flies. Thoughts buzz around, settling again and again on the same spots, only to take flight as soon as I approach. It’s a buzzing, shifting mess and I cannot sort it out. I have new ideas, I have old ideas refusing to die down, and all the while my stomach is fluttering from nerves and the back of my neck is prickling. It feels like I have forgotten something very important. Like I’m about to miss the one and only chance I have. Like I have to step onto the stage and perform and I have no idea what.
I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m very busy all day, but when I look at what I’ve done, there is nothing I can show for it.
So my question is: Will I ever grow up?
Or, if you want me to re-phrase it: Will I ever know what I want? Will I ever have a clue? Will I ever wake up and just KNOW?
the classic question: to read or not to read?
Yesterday’s awesomeness appreciation post on Dylan Thomas received a hitherto unknown-on-this-blog amount of interest. Which was really neat and very much appreciated!
It leads me to the idea that maybe a lot of the people who dropped by love literature. Or good writing. Which leads me to the thought that maybe they also love classics. Or maybe they don’t (but that’s okay). Which leads me to the thought of asking for advice: to read classics or not to read classics?
By classics I mean those kind of books that you are supposed to have read to have a good (classical) education. The kind of books that appear in literary canons. I’m ambivalent about reading them. On the one hand, I think they did not become known as classics for nothing. They are probably really good and have great things to say. On the other hand, there are so many books that are also really good but relate so much more to the world I live in. They just haven’t been endorsed by generations of readers yet.
And really, it’s not like I haven’t read anything. I’ve read quite a bit of the English classics, and I’ve read the usual German ones (Goethe, Schiller, and anything else they wanted us to read at school), and some of the international ones, like the Odyssey, and when I think about it, actually I have read quite a lot. But even as I type, I have the likes of Hebel, Storm, Hesse, Kleist, Stifter, … (= all of them are on the ‘should-be-read’ list of German literary canons) staring down at me from the shelf with reproachful bindings. Not to mention all the American and English ones I haven’t read.
So, a question to you guys and girls reading this: should I read them? Or may I indulge my secret desire to re-read one of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books without feeling guilty?