Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Age Is Just A Number, Baby

It occurred to me yesterday that at 38, I have now officially been an adult longer than I was a child (yes, I know this has been true for 2 years, but hey, I'm a little slow). This freaks me out. Just like it freaks me out to realize it's been 20 years since I graduated from high school. 15 years since I graduated from college. Heck, it's even been 10 years since I officially quit my quest for my PhD. How can this be?

I often joke that I still feel like I'm in my 20's, at least mentally. And that's true. I also often joke that I have the worst memory on the planet. That's also quite often true. Where it isn't true, however, is with any memory heavily tinged with strong emotion, *especially* when those emotions revolved around boys or men. I can't remember almost anything from my sophomore year in high school, but I can quote verbatim things my boyfriend said to me that year. I don't know much about the courses I took in college, but when I think of my first love, the emotions feel almost as fresh as if it were yesterday. Grad school is mildly less blurry. Mildly. But most of what I remember from it revolves around emotional experiences - a lot, of course, around my husband, whom I met there.

So when I can remember emotions so strongly to the point where they feel immediate again - when I can feel the euphoria and pain, the anger, the fear, the curiosity, the longing - why can't I remember much else? I don't know. Is this true for everyone else? Just me? Obviously those time periods resonate with many of us - at least judging by the number of movies Hollywood churns out about high school and college years (or maybe that's just because then they can put the Young and Extra Beautiful people in those pictures...).

I just find it hard to believe that those times are so far behind me now. I can remember being 12 and wanting to be 16, like John Cougar Mellencamp sang in "Jack and Diane" (and that's when he still had the Cougar in his name!). I can remember being 17 and feeling so close to being an adult, can FEEL all those feelings I felt at 17, about boys and myself and life. I can remember being 20 and falling in love and the wonder and heartache of it all. And all those things are nearly half my life ago.

Wonder what it's going to feel like when I'm twice as old as I am now? (Assuming I'll reach that ripe old age.) I just hope I can still remember, well, something...

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