Growing up is weird. I thought so four years ago and I still think so. They say it gets easier and I think it does but it doesn't get any less weird. If you take a minute to think about it you realize -- you're doing all the things you only dreamed about before. Yesterday I was sitting on a hay bale wearing a jumper dress reading an American Girl book and today I'm applying for jobs, looking at colleges (wait WHAT), talking to people I'd never have talked to before and ramming around downtown in my little truck that needs inspection and insurance. It's just really weird.
When I was little, in the summertime, we used to go to pick up jam from our Amish friend at her house. Mama and Molly and Sadie and I would get in the truck and drive there, an excruciatingly long distance to an eight-year-old, now a jaunt down the road to me. We listened to The Hardy Boys on cassette tapes and talked about people like moms and girls do. When we got to Lydia's house it would be an hour earlier, because they don't change their clocks for daylight savings. It would be getting dark and the oil lamps would be lit. Molly would stay with Mama, probably because she felt like she should act grown-up as the oldest, but I didn't want to sit around in a dark house waiting while adults talked about stuff I didn't care about. There was a swing hanging from a tree in the yard, and Sadie and I always went out there and tussled over it, pushing each other, fighting over whose turn it was. I remember that swing very well because it was just a rope hanging from the tree with a board unattached and you had to put the board on the rope and sit on it before it fell off in order to swing on it.
We'd swing and it would be dark. Across the road from the house there was forest and that was really scary to me. On this side of the road there was the house, and even though there wasn't much light, we were okay, because the road separated us. That other side was a different story. It was dark and scary and unknown. I never wanted to go over there, but it was okay, because I didn't have to. Mama was over here. Whatever lurked in the forest, I didn't have to worry about it because I didn't have to go there.
You don't have to go there when you're eight....but getting on eighteen, there's gonna be times when you will have to. I'm already sensing it and I haven't done anything really scary yet. I used to think if everything didn't stay the same I'd be so sad. I hated change. I hated it when we got new furniture. But now...time does educate you, maybe better than anything else can. Change is not only unavoidable, it's good. Things keep fresh when they keep moving. Change brings new opportunities down the river, and it brings new friends and new work and new things you find fun that you'd NEVER have tried before. Life rolls along fast as you can catch it.
I love the band Florida-Georgia Line. They look like bums and all their songs sound basically the same and sometimes their lyrics are dirty but sometimes they're profoundly beautiful and I love 'em. Last summer 'May We All' played on the radio so much it became sort of our theme song. (I say that, but our theme song will always be 'The Drinking Class'.) That song is crammed with wisdom but the best line, in my opinion, is the one about how "you learn to fly, if you can't you just free-fall". Because....well, what can you say? There it is. You do all you can to learn how to make it and you try your hardest, but if you can't you just free-fall and it's all good because ultimately you can't go too far wrong. Not if you've got your family and God on your side. (Which reminds me of another great FG Line song.....)
One day in the summer my two cousins and I were biking on the dirt road where Lydia used to live. We rode past her old house, now somebody else's house, and I saw that swing, the looped rope with the board lying on the ground just like always, and I remembered it for the first time in a lot of years. I wanted to stop and walk over there and pick up the board and set it down and learn to swing again. But for some reason it didn't feel right, so I didn't and I went to catch up with the others.
I'm excited now. It's going to be alright. But if you've ever felt like me and you're scared to venture to the other side of the road, the dark scary one, it's not as bad as you think and you'll rise to it. And while it's super ironic that I should be giving anyone advice about anything (it's okay, you can laugh), just relax. People aren't looking at you as much as you think they are. Go ahead and try your hardest, but if you end up free-falling, that's okay too. And don't ever, ever stop laughing at yourself, because laughter is your greatest weapon against all the vices you'll have. This goes for me too. ;-)
Is it snowing where you live yet?
Are you one of those people who hates FG Line or do you love them?
What did you used to be scared of?