Right now, if you started a sentence with "It would be nice..." how would you end it? What would you say?
The Beach Boys, slightly rephrasing, would say it would be nice if we were older. Then we wouldn't have to wait so long. And it would be nice to live together in the kind of world where we belong. It would also be nice if we could wake up in the morning when the day is new. And after having spent the day together, hold each other close the whole night through.
These are all really nice thoughts. I never wanted to be older. As a child, I never thought being older looked particularly great. "When I'm big..." was not a thought that often entered my mind. I never had any ideas of what it might look like anyway. What even (I just did a weird typo and it autocorrected to "Jen" which pleases me. How many word configurations can I construct so that Jen is the autocorrect?) is adulthood? I had no idea. I still don't.
One of my favorite movies, Liberal Arts, has one of my favorite, truest quotes about adulthood. The man speaking is a retiring college professor who pretends to be ready, tries to be ready to retire but isn't and doesn't know what to do. He can't accept what it might mean. Grapples with adulthood even at the ripe old age of retirement. In a conversation with a grown former student he says this:
Prof. Peter Hoberg : You know how old I am?
Jesse Fisher : No, how old are you?
Prof. Peter Hoberg : It's none of your goddamn business. Do you know how old I feel like I am?
Jesse Fisher : [shrugs]
Prof. Peter Hoberg : 19. Since I was 19, I have never felt not 19. But I shave my face, and I look in the mirror, and I'm forced to say, "This is not a 19-year-old staring back at me."
Prof. Peter Hoberg : Teaching here all these years, I've had to be very clear with myself, that even when I'm surrounded by 19-year-olds, and I may have felt 19, I'm not 19 anymore. You follow me?
Jesse Fisher : Yeah.
Prof. Peter Hoberg : Nobody feels like an adult. It's the world's dirty secret.
Nobody feels like an adult. It's the world's dirty secret. I never anticipated what adulthood would be. And now that I'm technically, safely officially there, I'm not sure I'm terribly sold on it. And I completely agree with Professor Hoberg. Adulthood is just an idea. One we carry around all our lives waiting to reveal itself, come into fruition, and it never happens. And we might feel a certain age. We might take on certain qualities of a certain age. And we reconcile those with our actual physical age and be like, what the? But I don't know if it's something we ever really fully realize as a point of achievement or acquisition. It's always jumping around, changing, evading us (or something we evade). Elusive and incomprehensible. Sometimes I feel 13. Sometimes 29. Sometimes I feel 42. Sometimes I feel 85.
Sometimes I feel like an adult and can see and measure my growth. Other times I'm like, no--screw that, I definitely am not. I don't coincide with that at all. I see all kinds of discrepancies here. But, you know, whatever. Does it matter? I don't think so. We grow up at our own pace. Sometimes it happens automatically, forced upon us, and sometimes we choose it. "Grow yourself up" is a phrase I've heard a lot lately. And I like it. I like deliberately choosing what may end up being inevitable anyway, so I can at least have some say in it, some say in who I am and end up being.
It would be nice if things turned out how we planned. It would be nice if it all went well. But I like where The Beach Boys go, getting simpler and simpler. It would be nice if we could wake up in the morning when the day is new? Why, I get to do this every day. What a joy, what a gift. I forget that. Aging is a privilege. However it looks, with each passing year, each passing day.
This post is, I fear, about nothing. But, as usual, I'd like to close with a loosely related Julian quote, an "it would be nice" of his own that I wrote down two years ago and then forgot about. Said out of the blue, of course. I love our parallel living. Seeing me now, seeing him now. Comparing, contrasting. Child. Adult. Adult. Child. Which is which? And he's always coming up with winners. Here it is in case you needed help with coming up with something. I honestly can't think of anything better at this moment:
"It would be nice if I was a person of honor with the launching of large ships."
Ha. I love it all and feel it all! Yes! Exact things. 1. Learning that no one feels like they know what they’re doing is such a comfort and a wonderful secret to be in on. I have faked my way through many situations/conversations with flying colors, haha. It’s amazing. And 2. The looking in the mirror thing. My parents have said the same thing. I’ve recently heard accounts of super elderly ladies still feeling like a young girl and I realized that they ARE. And I will feel that too, just as I do now. Forever young, as they say.
I’m so happy you know that movie! No one does and I feel like it was, for some reason, made for me. I feel it in many ways. 🤷🏻♀️
(Oh hey- forgot to change that to my name)
Also I love your take on that song. It’s such a happy thing to see couples still in love. 💕 Best.
I can't think of anything to add at the moment, except your comments made me smile. And my exercise group always has what we would call a spiritual thought at the end, so I shared your thought about waking up when the day is new. Since we meet at 5:30, it was very apropos!
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