On Getting Old

Ever since I graduated from college, I've been putting off turning into that weird thing that I call a "grown-up" and think of as completely separate from myself. To be honest, it's embarrassing to me that I think this way. Because I should be excited to get older. And sometimes I am... kind of. But mostly it just scares the shit out of me. 

Probably because I think about being an adult the way I've seen it in movies and read about in books. Where you suddenly panic that all your neck skin is shriveling and that you're going to develop unbearable bunions. It's not cute.

 The setting of my imagined glossy life in Los Angeles. Or somewhere equally glossy.

The setting of my imagined glossy life in Los Angeles. Or somewhere equally glossy.

So for a while I insisted on living like a child still: eating Oreos on special occasions and staying awake until 3am just to prove I still can. Which is even more embarrassing because I'm only 23. By all accounts, I am still an infant. 

Then, today, I came across this poem, which I must have written sometime when I was still in college. And it so perfectly captures my mental state when it comes to growing up: if it can't be unabashedly glamorous, I'm not interested.




My Imagined Life

I miss my imagination.

The anxiety I faced from playing house

Too strenuously.

And worrying that my baby dolls

Would never get into college.

I miss cutting out dresses

With fold-over tabs

And shopping for plastic

Real estate

Or

Making room for imaginary friends

To sit next to me

On the sofa--

I’m getting old.

I hear myself say things like

"Kids these days"

And "When I was young"

And I feel my hair turning grey

My arthritis flaring up

The pains in my hip

When it’s about to rain.

I am old.

Feels like fake teeth old

And dinner by 4 old.

Feels like playing bingo and scrabble and

Pudding cups.

What happened to my make-believe,

Fairy tale life?

Where I had three movie deals

And two clothing lines

Where my phone rang off the hook

And my boyfriends waited around the block

And someone was hired to do my hair

Because I was

Busy.

I mean,

When did I shave my head--

And get responsible?

Bald and tall---

I am my baby doll in college.

Programmed

To say Ma-ma or just cry

On repeat.

And I miss my imagination.

I want to color by number,

And paint pictures with my fingers,

Feel like a princess in a castle

Feel like playing hide and seek and cops and robbers

And pudding cups.

Feel like telling him he has cooties

So he’ll leave me alone.

I have lost my imagination.

Replaced it with primetime television

And seven letter words.

But maybe

Somewhere my imaginary friend

Has made it.

She has a new perfume coming out in spring

And a boyfriend named Jean Claude.

She wears high-heeled shoes

To the set of her next movie

And someone does her hair

Because she’s

Busy.

She wears cut out dresses

With fold-over tabs

And shops for plastic real estate…

And when we run into each other,

She says

Darling--- look at us.

We’re getting so old.