I just read this post by Em, and it got me thinking in a new direction for the day.
I can relate to a lot of what Emilin writes. Though I don't share her job-fulfillment or her mommyhood, I do get what she's saying about how your politics and how you wear them can change as you age. I'm no less "liberal" than I was at 22. My core personal and political values have remained very steady, and if anything, moving in a more privledged social/economic class has made me more aware of how completely fucked up our class system is. Ben Franklin would likely not be impressed by my brain, because I don't see much chance of my getting conservative before I hit 30.
That being said, I certainly wear it differently now.
Em describes her 22 year-old self as going to protests in steel-toed boots. I wasn't a whole lot different. My hair wasn't naturally colored and was never so long. I wouldn't have been caught dead in the clothes I wear now. I hadn't yet accepted that straight was going to be the identity I got, regardless of how well I did or did not believe it fit me. The thing that Emilin wrote that really resonated with me, though, is "I'm no longer trying to impress people with my anger." That's it exactly. I'm still pissed. Extraordinarily pissed, sometimes. But I no longer define myself by it, or feel the need to share it in quite the same overt manner. And I no longer consider being angry an accomplishment. It may well be my birthright, but it isn't my destiny.
I never would have expected to be where I am now. The office job, the mortgage, the gaggle of pets, the (gasp) SUV. The friends all around me getting married and having babies. It wasn't at all what I envisioned for myself. I expected to be writing professionally, to be in a major city, to finally have achieved hip. And while I'd still love to be writing professionally, those other things are not only not my reality, they are no longer even appealing. I've been to enough major cities now that I know I am not keen on living in one, and hip ceased to be a goal sometime around when I gave up trying to keep the dog hair off me.
I'm not as fulfilled as Em seems to be in her post, mostly due to my job situation (which isn't bad but isn't as great as hers), but also because Em has already made decisions (marriage, baby, where in the country to live permanently) that I haven't made yet. Marriage is pretty well out, but kids are still a maybe, and my feet definitely aren't growing any roots yet. While I am not in a hurry to make those decisions (time still doesn't seem to be moving overly fast to me), I don't think I'll ever have the sense of contentment in Emilin's post until I do. And that's fine. I've been in transition, more or less, for 28 years now, I can transition for a few more.
On one hand, I am amused at how normal I've become with my job and my clothes and my house and my life. And yeah, I'm a little bit disappointed, too. I definitely see people living differently and feel jealous. But I also know something now I didn't use to--that you can have these trappings, live in this class, and still have a spirit and a soul and creativity inside you. I may look like an automaton, but I'm still the same person I have always been in my head. If anything, I am confident enough in that person now that I don't feel like the need to shove her down everybody's throat every five minutes. And I think that might be progress?