Thursday, August 13, 2009

growing up

"I don't think that growing up should be synonymous with becoming stressed about life, though. I don't think it should have to mean losing patience on the freeway or running errands all weekend or dashing out the door for work without having eaten breakfast. "

i stole the above quote from my friend maggie's blog. i secretly like to read all the blogs that emily has listed, but now i guess it's not so secret anymore.

i've been thinking about growing up a lot lately. (A. LOT. - as michele would say). and when i think about growing up, i think about stress and bills and travel (not for-fun travel, but business travel with briefcases and work to get done on the flights). i think that when i read the newspaper, as a grown-up, it is no longer acceptable that i turn to the comics first or get bored by the front page or don't even bother to look at the business section.

i confess these things: sometimes, to me, growing up means being busy, all the time. hopefully busy doing really important things. and i kind of know where i got this picture, because both of my parents are very busy people. they like to be busy. but i forget sometimes the ways they build in 'play' to their daily lives. i forget about the things that mom says to herself just to make herself laugh, or the quiet mornings with steaming coffee and good music my dad has, or how he wears vacation hats and makes up stories or she does strange dances to christmas music.

i confess that in the middle of preparing and expecting, i forget and i grow anxious. i think of adulthood as what maggie reminds me it doesn't need to be: stressful, rushed, lonely.

awhile ago, my dad asked one of his friends what he needed to do to be spiritually healthy. the friend replied with characteristic wisdom and brevity: "you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."
that phrase sticks with me, as i grow up.

i was in carmel with my dad last weekend, and went for a run that took me all along the ocean. i was feeling particularly anxious about growing up at that moment, and i detoured to some rocks and tide pools down the hill from the road. i saw a bunch of families out on a sunny afternoon, and watching the kids in their little-kid bathing suits with their little-kid floaties and little-kid bravado running up to wave after wave, i felt deep pangs of sadness for the little kid that i will never be again.

the more i watched, though, the more that i saw that it wasn't only the kids running and splashing in the water. their parents joined in. their too-cool older siblings got up and walked around, and their dogs ran and ran and ran until they could run no more.

the ocean is a great equalizer, and this is one of its ways. it is life-giving, and life-affirming, and reminds me that i am free to disregard whatever secret grown-up manifesto i keep thinking i have to embrace. Jesus does not stop doing his work in me because i am growing up; in fact, i expect that he will do even more. and isn't that lovely.

5 comments:

Weasel said...

Hey Laura, i've been following your blog for a while now. Surprise! Just wanted to say that i really enjoyed reading this post and i've been feeling the same way recently. Jess and I are leaving Monday to go out to the Channel Islands for a week. Our very first official vacation. You're right, the ocean can do a lot to bring out the kid in you. We're taking our snorkels.

Weasel said...

PS- i went to the library yesterday and looked at the used book shelf. The Prince of Tides was staring at me, so I bought it (for 50 cents!), after remembering the quote you posted.

Maggie said...

I'm glad you "secretly" read my blog, 'cause I read yours too. What a funny moment it was to read my own words on your blog though, took a minute to register...I felt famous or something :) Just kidding. Well, kind of.

Thanks for these words. They are good ones - especially the bit about the ocean.

So fun to see you and hang out a bit in Seattle!

Sarah said...

Exactly what I needed to read right now. I'm having a day where being "grownup" feels so stressful.

laura ortberg said...

Casey! I love it. I hope that you and Jess have a wonderful first official vacation, full of snorkels and cliff jumps and pat conroy . . . i am so excited you bought the book!

maggie, glad we can come out of the closet to each other :) you have a way with words that i really resonate with. it was fun to see you in seattle and i hope it's not too long before i see you again.

srah: hi! i think you and i are similar in our feelings about growing up sometimes. it's so full of change.