Yesterday evening I celebrated the 29th birthday of my friend dear friend, J. J is her nickname because she is petite, sweet and to-the-point and it has fit her for as long as I have known her. All honorary invitees to this party were total foodies so we dined well: chile-quile, homemade guacamole, and a creamy/cool dessert. The evening was slow, lingering and celebrating her was a process, as it should be.
My favorite writer of late, Barabara Kingsolver, pays much homage to the processes of life: celebrations, but other things, too. She writes about organic transformation. Even more, she trusts that the basics we often neglect, suffice as cultivation. I love Barbara for this, and I loved last night for this too. I’ll try to explain. This particular house I was at, is always a little wild and random. Nothing is really set up just so, or has to be this way or just like that. The conversation lulls and then we go outside, wave to the neighbors, talk about tattoos, go back in. Time seems to take its time- slow and lazy and dawdling the way grownups told us not to. The dishes stay undone and the dogs (all four) play. All is well, and I like it. I know that I’ll go home when it’s time but for now, I’ll stay and drink sweet red wine. To my friends in the yellow house, please keep inviting me over. I like laughing with you. We stick to the basics: good food and good company and it always works out.
Things move along. We step from one decade to the next. And I think I’m realizing that new things, or stages, or days, are more new-ish, not just plain new. Take age for example. Do you recall when age became very apparent to you? I do.I was probably four and focused on telling people I was four and three quarters. Additionally, I was a girl. Four year are naturally self-obsessed, labeling all parts of themselves and others, too. (We’ve all had these awkward conversations) That small wrapped up bundle was a baby. The gray-haired woman with the old man was a grandma. My cool single babysitter with the poufy bangs and painted fingernails was a teenager. And the tall(er) woman next to me that made rules and kept me safe was a grown-up.
I’m a twenty five year old grown-up, and last night J became a twenty nine year old one. I feel sort of grown-up on the inside, but I am not a very skilled rule-maker and I don’t have many people I need to keep safe. Maybe that’s coming. Mostly, I feel like I have bits of all of my 4 year old and 9 year old and 15 year old (even thought I tell it to go away) and 21 year old selves in me all at once. Something tells me it’s probably not a good idea to leave them behind altogether even though they might be unattractive, lest we forget who we were (are?). If we do, they’ll show up, in the middle of the night, drenched in loss: “I don’t like feeling deserted.”
Unexpected company. Let’s invite them in, out of the rain, so they don’t stalk us.
We are new(ish) each day but the journey has mattered. And continues to. You know: that year we learned things aren’t as they seem. That year we lost hard. That year we realized we can’t always deliver. It adds up. I guess it makes sense we wrinkle up too with all that baggage tucked away in our heart and soul. I just sure wish we didn’t. Perhaps my 32 year old self will be okay with it.