Hello navel, we’re here.

Dear  Millicent,

It’s my last day of my 28th year today, and I wish you could have joined me.  At least allow me my own oddsaint portrait: cue haloed lighting, margarita glass in one hand, spatula covered in cookie batter in the other, looking ahead and beyond.

Getting near to closing off a decade brings the heaviness of pattern-calling.  I’m not freaked out about 30.  I am, however, freaked out by almost ten years of procrastinating for what ended up not being a week or a few months, but a decade indeed.  The majority of my adult life so far happened in this span, and its showcase speaks much more loudly than any laurels that I formerly rested the heft of my ego on.  And that is what time is, isn’ t it? A big bracket to release yourself from?

I’m listening to Talib Kweli’s ode to Lauryn Hill. I’m thinking of who I want to be in the next 7 years, if I can land into those outlines of adults that I admired when I was about to become one and assumed that I would be them.   This included:

  • wearing long turquoise winter coats
  • having dreadlocks, and a boyfriend in Paris
  • having dinners at long tables in gardens
  • a bathtub with a desk/chessboard that had a cupholder for my wine, ashtray for cigarettes
  • walls with built in bookshelves
  • an entire wardrobe that could fit in one bag and be thrown on in any arrangement and look casually stunning
  • books
  • singing

So, a lot of it has to do with clothes. Go figure.  As for the dreadlocks, nicely avoided, me.  Good job!

I bring up this list because we all have these paper dolls of ourselves stored in our futures (and their clash, as you mentioned before, with Pete’s great 30 Rock motto “And now, I do this”).  The media (as the You’ve Got Mail essay beautifully shows us), fills  in the gaps: the woman with the flat front khakis and the floppy dog,  the woman who walks to her beloved bookstore with a spring in her step. Even the stutter steps, where the paper doll outfit is not secure (showing us in our underwear!), are part of the design.  The lines are known earnest.  Today I saw another friend proclaiming on Facebook that she was in “cornerlife crisis, and want[ed] a new job, any recommendations? Only rules: no cubicle, and must be creative.”   I did not have compassion for this status update.  Instead, I felt grim.  We all think we are the ones undestined for the cubicle.  We all think we are the ones in the turquoise winter coats.   I also ruffle at the use of “cornerlife” because I’m tired of all of us proclaiming we are unhappy and unsure of our futures.  We don’t deserve creativity.  By it’s nature, it has to be made.

But I’m not bleak, and I’m not trying to be sour.    I still think I’m aiming for everything but the dreadlocks.  We all are, and I wish it were a bigger aim.  Pain resolved.  Problems ingeniously answered.  Action and movements built.   A great vista, where the coffee tables don’t matter.  And yet, I will feel fairly accomplished if, in the next 7, I have a coffee table.

But, like the itunes just pulled up, “it is better to light a candle than curse the dark,” and I say, fair enough.  I’ll work on stepping away from the eye-rolling, world.  I’ll work less on the coat and the library, and more on what they symbolized to the younger me: the glamour of choice and making one’s life.

Yours,

CF

Update: Looks like Hortense and Mindy Kaling and I were on the same page today.  And, we’ve got another You’ve Got Mail reference. It’s a small internet?

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