If you recognize the title of this rant as a throw-back to an academy awards speech given by Sally Field, then you are old.
I find myself doing some "middle aged" things lately and, although some might argue that it's about damn time, I have very mixed emotions about this transition. I find that I am having frequent struggles within myself. It's high school Liz trying to talk some sense into middle aged Liz. I think these conversations might make an interesting short story or book.
When I was in high school, I was grunge before the whole Seattle thing happened. I was queen of flannel and holey tennis shoes. I wore an army jacket, went all winter without shaving my legs, and I didn't stress if I needed sleep in lue of makeup. Don't confuse this with being dirty or being a hood (another reference you don't get if you're under 25). I was on student council and Ms. Senior Class and blah, blah, blah... I just didn't care one lick about what the rest of the world thought about the way I looked. I was happy to be a little off center. I did what I wanted and others were welcomed to come along for the ride if it sounded like fun. I mocked conventionality. I loathed conformity. Now... I have almost completely converted to the conventional conformist I hated and it's driving high school Liz crazy!
I no longer feel free to wear a bleached out t-shirt and Hawaiian print shorts to the bar for drinks. It's clicky sandals and froo-froo hair. Decked out in something that sparkles, carrying a purse instead of a backpack, planning a trip in June to Amish country... what the fuck? This isn't even familiar to the core I had 17. Hell, I've almost become exactly what my parents wanted. What's wrong with me?
I miss some of the old me. I used to be really compassionate and care. About a lot of things, I cared. Social issues, freedom for the masses, animal testing, sweat shops, the environment. Now I'm more worried about how much I'm paying in taxes and if my eyeliner and shadow clash. I'm interested in fewer people now too. If I don't particularly care for you, I don't want to be bothered with the pettiness of your sad life. That's awful, but it's true. You're annoying? Then go away. I don't necessarily want you dead, or at least not to have to suffer a painful death, but I sincerely want you out of my space. Unless I like you, I don't want to know about your problems. I don't want to help with your problems. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up. What happened to smiling on your brother and everybody getting together and trying to love one another?
Dude, it got replaced by a one-day-only sale at Belk's.
I refuse to believe that this is "maturity". You can be a free spirit and be mature. You can hold a job and be an individualist. You can contribute to a 401k and not have to sell your soul. So what switched in me? Some how my formula got off balance and I've morphed into a middle-aged, respectable woman who might even vote for a Republican in the near future! I worry about whether or not my supervisors like me. I know the folks I'm training like me, I know most of my co-workers like me, I know my neighbors like me, I couldn't have better friends... high school Liz would say, "That's more than enough, if the some dude sitting behind a desk doesn't see you as an asset, that's HIS loss. Let's go out and party!" middle-aged Liz says, "You need to face facts and start sucking up to the people that matter. You never know when they're going to have to downsize or when you might need a reference!" See? That's just WRONG but the thoughts are there. I used to pose questions like, "Did Adam have a belly button?" Now I ponder issues like, "How many years do I have left before bladder control or cataracts become an issue?"
I'm being drawn to the dark side. I think I need a weekend that involves a kegger and a sunrise, some time cruising just for the Hell of it, and some sort of event that involves waterballoons. It's time to get back to the things that really do make you interesting.
If you're in jeporady of becoming a stiff suit too, join me in my new cause! We can do a middle aged revolution together. It might not be as pretty of an assembly as it would have been 20 years ago, but it's not too late! I'll even wear something stone washed.