Home and Deranged
Words of wisdom from one Texas twentysomething to another
According to the bottle of white wine we killed last night over dinner, for my friends and me, this weekend was one of realizations.
The crew were all on trips of various kinds, ditching the homes we’ve made in Houston to hang out with old friends and visit our respective pasts. Some of us reunited with childhood chums. Others, like me, visited the laggards to pretend we, too, were still in college for one last hurrah.
As it turns out, it was a clarity-inducing couple of days for all of us.
I left my weekend of carousing with the graduating seniors of a certain northeastern Ivy with a few bumps and bruises and the certainty that I’m too old for that kind of behavior. I think another weekend would have probably killed me.
Assisting me in my self-reflection on the bumpy flight back to civilization (where normal-sized planes leave from airports with more than five gates) was a book that was sent to me by a former Texan twentysomething who had happened upon my column and thought I might relate to her memoirs.
She was right. Anna Mitchael, a University of Texas grad and sorority girl who fled the South for a string of cities, jobs and relationships and a grayscale wardrobe, knows what it’s like to helplessly navigate the twentysomething wasteland. I think she would’ve appreciated the Facebook group I recently joined when it popped up on my newsfeed: “Everyone I know is getting married or pregnant, I’m just getting drunk.”
I’ve devoted most of my efforts since (finally) finishing school to securing a job, my own place, a retirement fund, a posse and a swinging single life — all the accoutrements of what I thought it meant to inhabit the real world.
But then I flipped the page (to distract myself from what I was sure was certain death) and found this:
“I couldn’t force being a grown-up, no matter how hard I tried. I could put all the pieces of the grown-up puzzle in order, but until the right glue was inside me, none of those pieces were going to stick.”
Mitchael was referring to moving in with a boyfriend, ultimately a mistake. I, on the other hand, had been so adamantly “single” since leaving college (and a two-year relationship) behind, that it had perhaps reached the point of senselessness.
I suddenly reminded myself of a toddler shoving off her parents in a petulant show of independence: “I can do it myself! I don’t NEED anyone’s help!”
But perhaps life needn’t be about extremes. Attending — instead of throwing — a wedding didn’t have to equate to ravenous dating or self-imposed cat-ladydom. I didn’t have to be “single” to be independent.
If the first step is knowing where you want to be, maybe the next is knowing how to get there. Now, I think I know what I want and where I’m going. Only sometimes, I can’t quite make out the path from here to there — sort of like the way the Texas road seems to disappear in summer.