I am in Charlotte right now, my home town. It’s great to be back here, especially at this time of year. But, inevitably, my history here surprises me. It is all so familiar, but I haven’t lived in Charlotte since I was about 18. How has it been so long?! So yes, this is going to be another (possibly the third?) blog post about my advancing age.
What I’ve been noticing lately is that there’s just a lot more past than there used to be. There are trees here that were tiny and are now huge. There are buildings that were new and now are old. My parents moved out of “our house” and ten years have already passed. The math in my life continues to shock me. Consider:
1) A dear friend (Ruby, I mean you) graduated from college last year and left for the big wide world. I thought to myself, briefly, that I was not so far removed from that transition myself. Until I realized that when Ruby is my age, I’ll be almost 60. Good lord.
2) I went to a fundraising dinner last night at the church where I grew up. I used to work at the dinner — it was my job to push the dessert cart. I remember it like yesterday: white shirt, black skirt. This year: my nephew Will was the one working. I’m an entire generation older.
3) I have another friend (Erin, this is you) who I love chatting with and who generally cracks me up. She’s a sophomore in college. You know what that means? I was almost out of college when she was born. She’s actually much closer to John’s age than to mine.
4) I lived in New York after college and Washington, D.C., after that, and I feel like that was somewhat recent. I talk about these other places like we were just there. I just moved to Vermont, right? A decade ago! Guess it’s time to take up a winter sport after all. (If there’s a real winter next year.)
5) I had to put a resume together not long ago, and I haven’t done that in a very, very long time. I had this “get it all on one page” refrain ringing in my head, probably because I was about 24 the last time I tried it and three years of work experience doesn’t take up a lot of space. I expanded to multiple pages when I realized that I’ve been working for almost 20 years. Twenty. years.
6) Finally, I was swimming with John in a hotel pool recently and I noticed the sign that said “Children under 12 must have adult supervision.” I swear, for a brief second, I looked around for the adult. How the heck did this happen? I’m not a recent graduate, not a young adult, not entry level, not a newlywed, not a new mother: an adult. I’m all the way there.
I think this hits me hard because I’m very referential with the past. When I cook a recipe or wear a sweater or hear a song or see a house or visit a certain block in a certain city, I recite (usually just to myself) its history in my life. Who first made it or who gave it to me or what happened that afternoon or where we went from there. I can’t just see the now, I have to see the then. So the fact that there is so much past in the past now is, frankly, a bit tiring. I don’t want to let any of it go, but it is getting a little hard to keep up with.
Fortunately, I’m almost 40. It won’t be long before I can’t remember anything anyway.