So I’m going to be thirty in about a month. I’m not depressed; I’m not freaked about being single and childless, without even one cat to my name (I FAIL at being a stereotypical dried up old spinster, I know); I don’t feel like the sands of my life are slipping away grain by grain. I swear it doesn’t cross my mind more than once in a while that my own mother was married with two children by the time she hit thirty. (I’ve got a whole less-interesting-than-it-sounds story about a well-meaning cashier at a restaurant asking if I was a mom so she’d know whether or not to add a free dessert to my meal. I said no; she said, “okay, so not a mom yet” and pointed out the survey on my receipt so I could at least get a free cookie. I somehow refrained from rolling my eyes and held back the tirade about reproductive choice and not being Less Than because I don’t have and don’t want kids, while mentally flicking her on the nose, because that was not the best way to phrase that, okay?)
Anyway. It’s just really freaking weird being almost thirty.
Like, how in the name of everything holy did I get here? Last I checked I was careening through my mid-twenties, trying to extricate myself from one scrape after another—pretty much all of those were my own damn fault—so I could settle down to the business of Being An Adult. Precisely what Being An Adult entails seems to be anyone’s guess.
Side note: it’s vaguely unsettling that when the media and pop culture reference “young people” they don’t necessarily mean me any more. Soon, demographic analyses and pundits will start shoving me into arbitrary “middle-aged” boxes with all their might. Thirty feels like some sort of huge, arbitrary milestone, like it’s the point where I’m supposed to have my life mostly sorted out, if not completely together.
I think getting my student loans consolidated and having more than one credit card that I actually use responsibly totally counts. Right?
Like, good weird—but weird.
I’m resolved not to complain that there aren’t enough pillows on my bed for me to sleep comfortably. Or that the outlet by my bed is too far away for me to plug my phone in and watch netflix at the same time. Or that it’s really freaking cold in here. What’s that going to do but make my parents feel bad?
I’ve gotten used to the rhythms and noises of the house I share with my roommates and their one-year-old. (I refuse to be the kind of person who mentions my fourteen-month-old nephew or my thirteen-month-old niece. That, should they feel so moved, is definitely a parent thing.) There’s always a huge buzz of activity early in the morning while Nephew is up and figuring out how spoons work during breakfast—it’s actually pretty hilarious when you’re not the one who has to clean up after the fact.
It’s 11:40 and my parents’ house is dead quiet; my mother is at work, but since my dad and brother are still here somebody should have cracked a door open by now, right? This coming from the person who lolled around til almost 10:00 and only really got up because my stomach very loudly pointed out that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. But it turns out my parents only have dairy milk, so getting up and dressed was ultimately pointless. Plus they’ve rearranged the kitchen several times, so I don’t know where the spoons are and all the potential drawers are super noisy. (One does not make too much noise at Home—even typing on my laptop’s probably too much—and risk waking the grumbly grumpy dad who’s tired from manual labor that he really shouldn’t be doing in the first place.)
I think it’s finally hitting me that while I’ll always be welcome here, it’s not really My Place any more. It’s a little bittersweet.
Also I had to kill a really big spider this morning. Because no one else was up to tell me if it was a dangerous kind and fuck if I was looking away from that thing long enough to google.
My name is ironic.
See, I’m Kasey, and one definition of that name is “brave” or, according to wikipedia, “vigilant in war.” I’m not that, either.
My parents might or might not have looked my name up in 1000 Baby Names or whatever it’s called; in the end all that mattered was the tribute to my great aunt KC. I’ve posted on this before, and mentioned that I really feel more like a Kate.
You could argue, though, that brave and fearless are not necessarily synonymous. In my head brave is filed under “being really freaking afraid of doing the thing, but doing it anyway because it needs or is worth doing.” I’m about 50/50 on that one. Sometimes I sit back and realize that the thing might need doing or be worth doing, but someone else can handle it because I am not equipped for that mess. Brave is finally telling my boss that no, I don’t want to go permanent at my job because I might very well be perfectly competent, but I’m just not satisfied enough to spend the next couple years plugging away at invoices just to keep my resume from looking like I drop jobs on a whim. Fearless is throwing caution to the wind and walking out at lunch like a coworker did a few months ago after a particularly passive-aggressive diatribe from our permanent coworker that was couched as constructive criticism; I was just as mad, but I’ve got bills and loans and a new(er) car to save for.
So maybe I’m not fearless. And maybe that’s a good thing. I do need to get on the bravery thing, though. My boss is waiting for an answer, after all.
Call me Ishmael. Or not. It’s not my name. I’ve just always wanted to use that as an opening line.
“Call me Ishmael.” It’s a powerful statement. Maybe the most powerful statement a person can make; it’s taking control over one of the most basic components of our identity. Not “my name is this” but “call me this.” Maybe Ishmael’s name is really George or Kelvin or Phineas. (Feel free to chime in if you know the name Ishmael’s mother gave him. I’ve only read Moby-Dick once.)
Sometimes, when my brain isn’t skittering in a million different directions, I wonder what name I’d give myself. My parents named me after a relative whom I’m sure is very lovely, but it’s not necessarily what I’d choose for myself. See, Kasey means “brave.” Maybe my parents didn’t even bother looking that up, or maybe they hoped that bravery would weave itself through my life as much as it has theirs. I’ve rarely felt brave. My mother always points to moving halfway across the country to a state where I literally didn’t know a single soul as a brave thing; I counter that it was purely a practical one. I moved to North Carolina for grad school, Ma, not just for the hell of it. If an Arkansan college had had the program and the faculty I wanted, I’d have stayed in-state. Pursuing an advanced degree in a field with a glut of workers wasn’t brave, it was foolhardy.
Sometimes I wish I came from a culture that didn’t make changing the name I was given before I was fully a person so difficult; contemplating the sheer volume of paperwork is exhausting. And that doesn’t even factor in training my entire family and network of friends to call me something new. Plus, I get the feeling that my parents would take the change really, really hard. I’m the only one of my siblings officially named after someone, after all.
My family might have wanted me to be brave, but it’s not what I want for myself. I want stability. Roots. Tradition. I want something that isn’t mispronounced and/or misspelled a thousand times today. (Never mind that my last name is apparently impossible to manage; I actually like my last name a lot. Maybe because it twists and winds its way back to pear trees—which have roots.) I can say with almost 100% certainty that I’d never actually change my name; sheer laziness alone pretty much guarantees that.
My name is Kasey. I’ll figure out what you can call me later.
(Sometimes I feel more like a Kate.)
11 Jan: Looks like I was a week early with this one; check out yesterday’s Daily Prompt!
We’re entering the final days of 2014 — how did you do on your New Year’s resolutions these past 11.75 months? Is there any leftover item to be carried over to 2015?
I’m not actually a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. It seems like I’d be setting myself up for failure by picking something so grand and sweeping I’d chicken out and decide to forget about the whole thing. My New Year’s resolution every year is not to have a resolution; having one feels oddly limiting, like I’m taking all the potential that the next 365 days have and tunnel-vision focusing on one or two aspects of it.
I do better with bite-size goals: calling someone instead of texting (I feel kind of bad that the one person I’m the worst about that with is the one with whom texting is so entrenched as our method of communication that it’ll take several Christmas miracles to oust it and the prayers of minor saints); actually asking for help in a store instead of just standing around looking frustrated, hoping all the while that an employee notices. It seems like most people do better with these sorts of goals. Maybe it’s just human nature to go for the gusto and decide to look a hundred pounds or suddenly start eating better or run a 5k. (Mad respect if you’ve halfway managed any of those—or even sort of started and gave up. For any sweeping goal. Mad respect).
image via pixabay
There’s no way around it, writing is a lonely occupation. It’s just you and the words. —Scott Yates
(I feel like maybe I should send this guy a fruit basket or something. I keep getting post ideas from his emails.)
Anyway, I have to disagree with you, Scott. Again.
Writing isn’t necessarily lonely; it’s solitary. And solitary doesn’t automatically equal lonely. It’s funny how often people conflate the two. To be fair, they do often go hand in hand. But I think it all comes down to what you do with the time you spend alone while writing that tips the balance in either direction.
And who’s to say that your words don’t count for company? Our own words are often excellent company for introverts and creatives.
In my case, writing gets lonely when I’m writing and rewriting and rephrasing the same line of text thirty million times and it still doesn’t sound the way I want it to. Because the words in my head aren’t keeping me company then. They’re snickering in the far corners of my brain—if they’re not on a fast jet to some tropical paradise.
That’s usually my cue to save my draft and bury myself in someone else’s words for a few hours. Most of the time I end up chortling my way through a Julia Quinn Regency romance. (I love love LOVE bodice-rippers, but I’m actually really hard to please most of the time. I blame my master’s degree.) Something about the rhythm of her writing is immensely inspiring for me. Then it’s back to work, and I usually find the words I’ve been looking for sitting toasty and tanned right where I need them. Maybe sipping a Mai Tai if they’re feeling particularly puckish.
Side note: I’m moving to Knoxville, TN this weekend, so I might not manage to get a post ready for next Sunday; going mad with last minute details doesn’t bode well.
Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.
Sir Thomas Hobbs said, “the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” My life? Not so much on the first four; I lucked out and happen to be a Western white girl—literally the only way this could get any better is if I were a guy. Or didn’t have a soul-crushing student loan balance.
Life is this weirdly liminal thing. It’s too short and it’s too long. I am everything and I am nothing. (Side note: is it just me that’s fascinated by the fact that the star of one life is a bit player in others’?) Life is too short not to love wherever and however much you can, but it’s too long to love or stay attached to something (or someone) who’s bad for you just to have that connection. Life is too short not to have that one last piece of the most amazing pizza ever, but it’s too long to have that pizza all day every day and expect it to be as awesome as it was the first time.
The seventy-odd years we spend on this mortal coil are the most solid, concrete, ephemeral things in the universe. We are dandelion fluff, there and gone in a blink. But we were there.
dandelion via pixabay