on maturity

Posted on January 23, 2007

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Lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, and really enjoy the brands that have the quotes on the bags. I feel like it is another version of the fortune cookie, and I peer into these quotes to find their hidden meaning for me. Tonight’s quote is, “A sign of maturity is learning that the volume knob also goes to the left.” I, too, have long had my own signs of maturity. They are the abilities to: a) get up early, b) skip breakfast, c) skip lunch, and d) possibly a subset to c, work without thinking about what is for lunch. So far, this is the extent of my list. So far, I can do none of these things.

The notion of maturity is of interest to me lately as I have returned to school and thus am finding myself living like I did when I was 20. I cannot get up in the morning. I have a sense that I have a lot to do, but am not quite sure what or where to begin. I have few obligations in terms of time or place.

I wrestle with the question of why I can’t get out of bed every morning from somewhere around 9am to 11am, depending on when I get up. This is also the time that I make my breakfast, on most days an egg sandwich and definitely coffee. I don’t remember ever eating eggs as frequently as I do now, but there is a sense that I need the protein, fried in butter, for all the work I have to do. So I make my egg sandwich. I think it all started on yet another weekday morning when I was home and Good Morning America was on, and I learned that two eggs, whole wheat toast, and fruit is actually better for you than a bowl of granola and milk. I ignore the part about the egg being boiled, oh, and ignore the fruit, and feel validated in my breakfast choices. I picture Matt Lauer out there somewhere, cheering me on.

It is at this point that I get to work, and it is no sooner than I check my gmail, my work mail, and myspace that I begin to think of what’s really important for the day – lunch. It’s like I need the goal of red pepper soup from Trader Joe’s or a frozen veggie burger to really get motivated for homework. I have never been too busy to eat lunch. Ever. I have been too poor and I have been too lazy. But never have I been so engrossed in something that I just forgot. Lunch doesn’t just slip by me.

My point in all this is not to highlight my utter laziness/food obsession, though that might be worth exploring. My point is to ask: what does it mean to be grown up? What do my indicators mean? Will I ever spring out of bed early in the morning excited for the day’s work? Will I ever be so engaged that food isn’t the most primary topic on my mind? Is this really about maturity, or more about passion, liveliness, energy? And who are these weird automatons that are able to do all these things effortlessly? I’ll be looking for answers in tomorrow’s tea.

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Posted in: aging