I’ll never grow up

I go through periods of wanting to sit around drinking fruity alcoholic beverages,

peter_panFor this installment of Ask Roger Anything, Chris asked:

Do you feel like a grownup yet?

Sometimes. I still talk with my stuffed animals, especially Oscar, the monkey who Uthaclena found in a movie theater nearly 20 years ago and gave to me. He’s sort of a replacement for Ersie, a very cute monkey who I lost in a romantic breakup. (Notice “who” rather “that.”)

Oscar is very wise. He tells me things I tend not to tell myself.

Clearly, there are things I do and I say that gives people the sense that I still have a boyish enthusiasm about many topics, but you’d have to ask them.

But certain things make me feel like a grownup. Owning a house, which is nothing I dreamed of, or particularly wanted, involves having to DO things for the home, the property, even though I don’t wanna. “TOUGH, that’s what the responsible adult does.” Who says I’m a responsible adult? “You bought it, you keep it up.” That was 2000, when I turned 47.

When does that happen?

Here’s probably a couple of stories, at least one of them TMI.

When I was trying to woo back The Now-Wife, I went on a train trip to Detroit and Cleveland in 1998, and then another trip to Washington, DC a week later. She later revealed that it was my ability to go on these trips that I wasn’t too dependent on her. (I thought at the time WTH; in retrospect, I STILL think that.)

The Wife and I got married in 1999 and were “trying” to get her pregnant since the beginning of 2000. We did the testing, and nothing was biologically wrong. But one of her friends wondered if she wondered if I was ready to be a father. (The answer: is ANYONE?) But once she decided I was, it happened.

I know there are people who have kids who don’t grow up despite having children. But it was probably significant in my “growing up.” That it was also tied to aging – when I hit 55, I was pretty sure I won’t live ANOTHER 55 years – plays into that.

So the underlying question, I suppose, is about yourself. The answer, of course, is “It depends.”

The musical maven Dustbury pipes in:

At what point did you conclude that having a “mid-life crisis” was out of the question, and what led you to that conclusion?

I think having a child at 51 really puts a kibosh on a bunch of patterns, not the least of which is the fiscal competition among tending for her present needs, planning for her college, and planning for my retirement. Every financial planner says that I must do the latter, and of course, I MUST do the former, so the college fund is feeling less robust than we would like.

Of course, it’ll be free by the time she gets there – won’t it? – so hakuna matata.

Still, I go through periods of wanting to chuck most of it, certainly work, and every committee I’m on, turn off the news and especially Facebook, and sit around drinking fruity alcoholic beverages, reading books I have stacked up, partially read, and then write about them here. And go to more movies and write about THOSE here.

Then I get all “you need to be a good citizen” on myself, Protestant ethic not just of work but of being “useful”, and I do the things I do.

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