It’s those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.
When I was younger, I worked with a guy whose choice of working music leaned heavily toward Jimmy Buffett. I had my own copy of “Songs You Know by Heart,” but hearing Buffett’s complete discography over and over again turned me and the rest of the staff into certified Parrotheads. We’d go to concerts together, with their carnival atmosphere of costumed tailgating, singalong choruses, and
way too much just a bit of drinking.
But these weren’t just work parties. Our core group waxed and waned, but generally included my coworker’s best buddy, an army officer at Fort Bragg, and his wife and even the younger of my two brothers, who adored Jimmy, his music, and the Parrothead experience. We went each year in a caravan to his closest concert venue, set up our grill, and partied the day away.
Eventually, the trips petered out for me and for most of the others. They were great times. I still smile when I hear a Jimmy Buffett song, and can still sing most of the choruses if not every word. I play his more kid-friendly songs for my daughter. I occasionally listen to Radio Margaritaville, or pull on one of my old concert t-shirts.
But I Don’t Dance like Carmen No More. I had a great time going to concerts when I was young and single, but a crowded concert venue overrun with folks who’ve imbibed a little too much no longer appeals. Nor do the $50 tickets. Experiences may be worth paying for, but I’ve done the Parrothead experience at least 7 times. Time to move on and do something else.
So when my brother called to see if I wanted to buy a ticket to this year’s concert, I said no thanks, it’s not in the budget. Much as I enjoy my great memories of the concerts, I feel no need to go again. I’d be happy to meet the crowd for lunch beforehand and visit, but don’t really want to go to the concert itself. I’m in a different part of life now, and I’m okay with that.
I guess you can say I’ve had some definite changes in attitudes. Unlike Jimmy, who proudly declares he’s “grown older but not up,” I find myself and my tastes have taken a decidedly middle aged turn.
- I can no longer drink an entire beer without falling asleep. I still drink beer, but I usually split a can or bottle with Jon. But hey, I’m a much cheaper date, even when I’m drinking better beer!
- I get cranky if I’m not in bed by 10 when I used to stay up til 2. Now I wake up easily (most days) by 6:30 and enjoy a leisurely coffee. I get a full 8 hours of sleep each night. I don’t take an hour or so to fall asleep each night, and I generally sleep through the night (according to FitBit).
- I am reasonably comfortable in “adult clothes.” After years of predominantly wearing jeans to work, I dress in slacks or skirts and no longer change the minute I get home.
- After years of feeling guilty about my lack of religious life, I go to church. I teach Sunday School. I am on committees and altar guild (which means I agree to wash the dishes after communion.)
- I don’t
run screaming from the room mock mercilesslyask to change the music when Jon turns his Pandora streams to Classical or New Age. I have a new appreciation for classic Country. I find my favorite Cure and B-52s songs on stations that are essentially….oldies.
- I want to eat Brussels Sprouts and Oatmeal. (Not together, but maybe the same day.) Healthy foods taste good, if not quite as good as dark chocolate. Contrast this with the fact that I find lots of my childhood favorites are unbearably sweet, and spicy food bites back even if it still tastes great.
- I drive more conservatively and safely, and am more likely to complain about the person whipping through traffic than the slow cars in front of me.
Trying to Reason with the Adult Season
I’m in a different season. I’ve left behind springtime childhood and youthful summertime. I’m an adult and hopefully still somewhere in autumn.
Autumn was always my favorite season anyway.
I’ve seen posts about adulting, like the great one by Abigail over at I Pick up Pennies, and I get it. There’s something about our culture where we don’t want to admit that we’ve actually transitioned into adulthood. We resist being called Mr and Mrs. We think of our contemporaries as the guys and the girls. We love our parents and grandparents but we don’t want to turn into them, at least not yet.
Then all of a sudden, something happens and we realize that despite how we feel inside, we are adults, with adult responsibilities and choices. We surprise ourselves by realizing most of our choices are the responsible ones of “real” adults, like our parents and grandparents, and not the sometimes heedless actions of youth.
I think every adult feels like a kid inside, even our parents and grandparents. And that’s good, because the child in us allows us to touch wonder and awe.
I read once that the best men still have a lot of boy in them. I think it’s true, but we women need to hold on to our inner girl too. Our inner child gives us a need for dreams and imagination, and allows us to be a little more forgiving of ourselves.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t embrace our inner adult too. I think I’m actively trying to turn into my mom now because my mom was awesome: she led a healthy active life with plenty of friends and family who adored her. Losing my mom might be a big part of why I’m ready to embrace the adult label and all of its accompanying baggage.
Or it might be that I’m a mom myself. I have someone else who needs me to be the responsible voice of reason.
Or it might just be that I’m approaching 50 and can no longer fool myself into thinking I’m a young person.
Or most likely, I’ve made so many adult decisions that yes, I’m really an adult and I‘m going to own that fact. I’m not going to flinch when people call me Mrs. Jividen or Ma’am. I’m going to wear sensible shoes. I’ll go to work and pay my bills and cook plenty of vegetables.
I’ll skip a concert that isn’t in the budget and is no longer my scene. I have no need to revisit that part of my youth.
I’ve discovered that my own changes in attitudes are decidedly more adult.
What are your changes in attitudes as you’ve gotten older? Are you surprised by finding yourself an adult, or do you find yourself just as happy to embrace adulthood and all it entails? Are there some parts of your youth that you are happy enough to leave behind?