August 16, 2006

Twentysomething

Looks like its getting ready to rain here at the meadow. I love watching storms come up across the mountains, so I brought my laptop outside so that I can see it happen while I write this. It’s been cloudy and cool all day, and if I were to close my eyes, I could almost convince myself that it’s not even summer anymore.

It doesn’t feel like summer, that’s for sure, and it sure doesn’t smell like summer ought to. None of the smells of freshly cut yards of grass, because even when they do cut the grass, it’s all brown and dry anyway. Not lush and green and inviting. And it’s never sounded like summer…no crickets singing you to sleep or frogs croaking by the water. No lightening bugs sending Morse code out into the woods. Right now, for instance, even though it’s getting ready to rain, it is going to be a cold rain, not a good summer rain that leaves everything looking clean and smelling like fresh laundry.

I’m still missing the South like crazy, apparently. It’s not unusual for me to miss it when I’m living other places, but ever since I moved to Montana, the longing for it has been touched with more melancholy than ever before. I struggled with it a lot after I’d been here for about a month, but it went away after a couple of weeks.

Now, however, it seems it is back.

I guess it’s a security thing. A place where I’ve felt safe, a place I understand, a place I’m comfortable with, a place I’ve belonged to. It makes sense that I longed for that after that first month. I was lonely. I was past the point of being fascinated by all the new things of living in Montana and I was really beginning the business of settling down here, and none of it was coming as easily as I wanted it to.
It did get better though and I did start finding things and people to plug in to, and I became more content with being here.
Now, however, that longing has come back. I never know what to do about this contradiction within me. When I am at home, I constantly want to be somewhere else…but when I’m somewhere else, I pine for home.

I think part of it has to do with the stage of life I am in. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately; what it means to be in your mid-twenties. I obviously don’t have much to compare it to, but it seems to me that this is a weird limbo age.
On paper I am a full-fledged, card-carrying member of the adult world. I have the crappy, tiny first apartment, the phone bills and car payments, an unbalanced check book, concerns about gas prices and global warming and the current occupants of the White House.
But on the inside, I am afraid that one day someone is going to figure out that I’m just pretending to be an adult. That in reality, I have no clue what I’m doing, nor do I feel completely capable of actually being adult.

I think there are a lot of people who feel this way, that it’s not just limited to those of us who are just a few steps past the line of demarcation that separates adolescence from adulthood. I don’t know what events have to occur in your life before you actually feel up to the challenge of being an adult. The older I get, the less I think it has to do with the number of birthdays you’ve celebrated and a lot more to do with what happens during the time in between those cakes and streamers.
Regardless of how I feel about it, or whether I am fully ready to accept it, I am an adult. Assuming I don’t die young, I will probably spend close to 70% of my life as an adult, so I guess I better get used to it.

My point about being in your mid-twenties though is this: You are an adult, and unless you are one of those people that met your spouse in high school or college (and don’t get me started on that tangent), you are probably out on your own. You can’t live at home, unless you want to try the accepted social norms. You are, at least in my case, continuing to establish your identity away from your family. You are still part of your family, of course, but how you interact with them is changing, you know? It all comes back to that same idea of needing to belong somewhere. Fitting in. I don’t know why that is such an intense feeling for me right now, but it’s popping up all over the place.

I was driving through this beautiful neighborhood the other day. It had friendly houses that looked lived in, and yards full of old trees that reached out across the yards to touch the ones on the other side of the street. Kids were running around everywhere, bikes were strewn across lawns, and sprinklers were pumping away, trying their best to keep the grass green and damp despite the dryness of a Montana summer. As I pulled to a stop at the intersection, I remember thinking, “How much longer until I get this?”

Don’t misunderstand me here. I am so not ready to have a mortgage or the water bills that go with those sprinklers or little people who share half my DNA running around. I’m really not ready for that. In fact, given my penchant for running away from commitments, it may be a long while before I am ready for that.

But it's not stopping me from wanting that sense of belonging some place. How do you create that on your own?

August 15, 2006

Going To The Chapel...

I got married last night...or maybe it was early this morning.
The details are still a little fuzzy at this point.
But regardless of details, I am absolutely certain that I got married.

It was all a dream of course, and not the first time I dreamed of getting married, but it was, by far, the strangest getting-married-dream I've ever had. Usually in those kind of dreams, everything is super fuzzy and I rarely remember/recognize what people were wearing or where I am or who it is I am actually marrying. That's the part I am always interested in; the groom, I mean. What usually happens is that I remember all the details right up until the actual walking down the aisle part, so I never see his face. Or it's like his face is all blurred out and it's impossible to know who he is.
But last night's dream was chock full of details and people and places I recognize and a groom I knew. The setting was a church in my home town. Not the one I usually go to, but one that I've at least been in. And my sister was there and other members of my family, although I don't remember seeing my parents. My dress was gorgeous, although I don't know where it came from. I mean, I've never seen it on someone else. And the funniest part is that I remember going into the bathroom during the reception and admiring it like I was consciously recognizing that I loved this dress and I wanted to see all the details my imagination had come up with.
And get this! When I turned around to look at the back of it, it had a back low enough to show the purple rose tattoo I had on my back. A purple rose tattoo. On my back. What the hell? And I'm not talking about some delicate little rose...it was at least the size of my hand. On my back. And it was purple! Weird...
And it just got weirder. The groom? Well, he is a guy that I know...but only by sight. I don't think I've ever spoken to him. He is a guy that married into a family that goes to my church at home, but in my dream, he was the son to this family...not the son-in-law. So, in my dream, his real-life wife was his sister. Creepy, huh? And to top it off, he's probably close to 10 yrs older than me, and I don't even find him all that attractive. But when my imagination needed a groom, he's the one it came up with. There was this whole thing in the ceremony about becoming part of this family and getting hugged by the dad and being told I was now his daughter. In my dream, I was fine with it, but now, it's just strange because I really do know this family and the father, and I can't imagine being part of their family. They are super rich and their kids ran in a completely different crowd than I did in high school. Not to mention that they only have daughters and no son to marry!
There are tons of other details that aren't worth repeating, but vivid nonetheless. I woke up this morning and just started laughing.
Yesterday, I was looking into buying my plane ticket to Kentucky in November for my college roommate's wedding and I guess that was the fodder for this particular dream. But I have no idea where most of the details came from or why I picked this certain family to marry in to. Who knows?!

August 3, 2006

A Post About Nothing...

I have never been so happy to see the calendar turn to August. It was with a sigh of relief that I took my July schedule off my refrigerator and replaced it with my August one. Along with the first “summer-like” weather of my time in Montana, July also brought massive amounts of drama and chaos to my little work community. I don’t know if the heat got to the girls or if there was some strange alignment of planets that caused everything to be off kilter, but for whatever reason, the season of drama was upon us for almost the entire month of July.
Thankfully, along with the subtle departure of our hot weather, the drama that was so rampant a couple of weeks ago is also settling down and we are all one big happy family again.
I guess it stands to reason that when you have this many teenage girls in one place, there are bound to be flare ups, but there were days in the past month when I questioned the sanity of forcing 36 girls to live together.

I’m sitting on my porch right now, looking out over the meadow, enjoying the last hours of my time off. It’s 1:30 in the afternoon and I am willing to bet that it is barely in the 80s today. We really did have some hot days in July, but some time last week, the heat wave broke, and the temperatures starting dropping at night. Over the weekend, we were even down into the 30s at night. The extreme fluctuations in temperatures from day to night are so foreign to me. It’s very weird. But more importantly, I think it means that summer is almost over. It’s the first week in August and I think this is it. I’m not quite ready to let go of warm weather, but even as I sit here on the porch, there is a persistent breeze that is mocking my attempt to wear shorts and a tank top.
I’ve lived in Montana for 4 months now. One third of the commitment that I made is now behind me. That was fast, huh? I still have no idea whether I will stay beyond the initial time I agreed to, but I am still content (mostly) with my job. My frustrations with my schedule are just that—frustrations. Nothing worth leaving over. Plus, I am fairly certain that those frustrations can be resolved in the near future.

So. That's it. My ramblings I posted only because I feel guilty that I haven't posted more often this summer.
The end.