If you ever want a good shock, stumble unexpectedly across a picture of yourself from six or seven years ago. Marvel at your smooth skin, the pleasing fullness of your features, and try to put your finger on what, exactly, was there that isn't there now. Or what wasn't that is. Convince yourself that you haven't changed, not really. Tell yourself that you will never get old. Now look again. Really look. What is it? What is it?
When I was young and imagined growing old, I always imagined I would have someone else growing old with me. -Will you still love me when I'm old? -I will still love you when you're old. -Will you still love me when I turn gray? -I will still love you when you turn gray. -What if I get fat? [longer pause] -I will still love you if you get fat. I imagined teasing, gifting nosehair trimmers at Christmas and laughing about it, holding hands on front porches in rocking chairs, side-by-side bathtubs on the goddamn beach. When you are in your twenties and getting old is pretty much the worst thing you can think of, growing old together is your life preserver. Getting old sucks, but growing old together is the stuff marriage proposals and pharmaceutical commercials are made of. In my twenties, this is the future I imagined. In my moments of doubt I would allow myself to wonder, What if he doesn't love me when I get old? What if he trades me in for a younger model? But never, not even in my wildest what-if scenarios, did I imagine that there wouldn't be a he at all. (Enough with the footprints, oh Lord, but can you please explain why there's only one bathtub on the goddamn beach?)
And perhaps that is what I am seeing reflected in those old pictures that look like me but also not like me. A quiet confidence, a belief that my life was on an ever-increasing upward trajectory, that things can only get better from here. The unknown was exciting. [A brief aside to tell you that I am trying really hard not to punctuate every line with a lyric from Les Mis right now. Then I was young and unafraaaaiiiiid... Yeah. I dreamed a dream.]
But I am fine. Everything is fine. How are you? Are you fine or not fine, or good or maybe great? I miss blogging but I feel like I have nothing to say, and when I do try to write something it comes out like this, and quiet desperation is not exactly the "brand" I wish to convey. If I had something funny or fun or exciting to tell you I would, believe me. But don't give up on me yet, ok?