Be the Cat's Meow

Growing Up or Growing Rude

Posted on: 09/28/2010

Lately I have been feeling my biological clock ticking away. Not necessarily my “baby” clock, but my “holy-crap-I’m-almost-30-and-have-so-many-goals-before-settling-down” clock.  Maybe this is odd, but I have heard similar things from those my age.

To deal with this I made a list of my goals and have been trying to figure out how to achieve these. The main goal is move to a bigger city, but, of course, money is the biggest obstacle with that. I have been diligently saving money to deal with this and also have been working towards expanding my portfolio (writing & art) to (hopefully) open more doors to opportunity.

I assumed doing these things to reach my goals would be the right thing to do. However, I began to second guess myself when I started to experience some sort of “backlash” from friends and family. Having grown up with friends within the circles of ravers, hippies and artists we did many group outings and more often than not I have unexpected visitors drop by. Of course it is always nice to have company, but how am I supposed to work on a story when I am suddenly deemed hostess. At the same time I am Mexican, so we are also expected to do everything together. Heck, I was expected to stay living with my parents until I found a husband.

With facebook, e-mail, cell phones, etc. it is impossible to drop off the radar. My disappearing act quickly led to slightly confrontational e-mails and texts from friends and family. “What happened to you? I thought we were friends.” “Why don’t you stay with your relatives for the weekend?” My first thought was, wow I am a terrible person, I let all these people down and my gut reaction was to fill up my planner with dinner dates for the next month. As I started to stress about it I took a second to sit back and think.

Looking back two to three years ago I’d go straight from work to different friends’ houses to play video games or watch TV until I was on the verge of passing out. Okay, all things considered, it was good fun, but now it seems like I threw away too much time. I had just graduated from college, so I was ready to savor my freedom and let some brain cells shrivel, but maybe that wasn’t the best option. Now, I definitely try to see family and friends as often as possible, but at the same time I realize I need to work more in order to reach my goals.

This made me think about the delicate balance between work and play. I work to live not live to work. At the same time, my “work” outside my salary job is what I am truly passionate about. They are ways to cope, meditate, reflect and express those emotions I don’t know how to otherwise. The trick is to avoid recluse state. You only have so much time to spend with loved ones, family and friends alike, but at the same time you can’t give up your pursuits to spend every waking second with them. Achieving this balance will definitely be the hardest part.

Remembering to keep that balance and keep loved ones close hit me the hardest when my tata passed last year. Growing up my brother and I would spend every Sunday with my grandparents. Tata would take us for a ride in his new car and we would go explore the “creek” in the park. I cherish every one of those memories. As his health declined he was stuck at home all the time. I would stop by and visit and take something to satisfy his sweet tooth. At this point I was old enough to want to talk to my tata and learn more about his life, but he was barely audible although he remained animated.  My nana could decipher most of what he said and he generally encouraged me to continue doing well in school and work. When he passed away I hadn’t seen him for weeks. It crushed me I never got to say goodbye. I never got to take him one last bag of lollipops or pan de juevo. I went straight to my nana’s the morning he passed and spent the whole day there. She reassured me he knew how much I loved him and he was proud of my accomplishments. I told her I still felt awful inside and that’s when she said something I never expected- “You are living your life. He loved you and he understood you couldn’t be here all the time. You have to do what makes you happy- no matter what.” Her words calmed me. Of course I was still mourning the loss, but it put life in perspective.

With all the chaos life brings I forgot the words of my nana, but recent events led me to talk to older friends. I asked them what it was like for them at this age and if they experienced anything similar. Surprisingly, they all said the same thing as my nana. They reminded me there comes a time when you have a priority shift and you can’t spend all your time “hanging-out” like you used to. I definitely miss the days of leisure and lack of responsibilities, but c’est la vie. Others will have the same epiphany, but they all occur at different times.  It is what it is and nobody can do anything to speed up the process.  In the meantime you just do what you need to do and those close to you will understand and if they don’t now they will soon enough.

I guess this is just part of growing up. I wish life had an instruction manual.

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  • saracfry: Good post. Thank you. I think that you might appreciate an article I just wrote titled "The Purity of Love"
  • fullblather: Ugh. I'm happily married but I really hate Valentine's Day and the way it feels so forced. I also hate how people make it seem like something is "wron
  • matt: Be the right person, instead of looking for the right person.

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