I don’t want to grow up
The mundane realities of day-to-day existence let the air out of life’s tires
By Patricia Baer
The Ramones have been on my mind a lot lately. It might be because the expanded responsibilities of homeownership are finally sinking in or maybe it is just the recent birthday, but the words of this punk band’s hit song have been rocketing around my brain on repeat lately.
It is hard to imagine “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” was originally a Tom Waits song. Next time you are bored, Google his version’s music video. It is a mesmerizingly bizarre experience that brings back memories of MTV at its pinnacle.
But I digress. I hear us old people do that. We wander wildly off topic before getting to the point.
Where was I? The 40s, right. I am 44 this year. I joked with someone recently that it hurts to say that out loud. It is not far from the truth.
There is something about the sound of the word that is unattractive. Say it aloud, and it plods along in its pronunciation. It does not have the twirly tune of 22 or the steadfast but still bouncing beat of 34. Even 66 sounds sleek and sharper than my age now.
There is something about the “f” sound that brings to mind a slowly deflating tire. It makes the entire word thud and thunk along like a car desperately attempting to reach the next destination before it goes completely flat.
More often than not, I feel like that car these days. This decade of my life is becoming a period of constant maintenance, it seems. Maintain the bills. Maintain the job workload. Maintain the house. Keep life functional with as little drama as possible. It is an admirable goal, and I have worked hard to make it to this phase, but at times it seems a little bland and lacking adventure.
The other day I heard a piece on NPR in which an older couple discussed how they had decided to sell their house and live around the world. The idea was that by living in an apartment for several months in each city, they would gain a better appreciation for the host country than they would if they just visited for a few weeks as tourists. The notion of that much freedom was a lovely daydream to consider, and I envied them for a bit.
Sometimes it is hard to remember that people once dreaded retirement. I am not sure if I want to be as untethered from home as the radio couple, but I am looking forward to having my time be my own. I will try to appreciate my current stability stage more in the meantime, though.
Then when my “re-tiring” comes, if we stick with the car metaphor, I can comfortably hit those sleek 60s with a fresh set of wheels on this life, zipping off towards a new adventure with The Ramones still buzzing in my brain.