When you realize you’re a grown up

Things are changing.

When I started this blog, I’ll admit I wanted to do some navel gazing.  But, I thought, as the entire memoir genre seems to exist for the point of navel gazing from one angle or another, maybe someone will find it amusing.  I’m not really sure this is so–perhaps I thought a bit too much of being in a relationship.  It was just such a fascinating phenomenon for me.

It’s funny.  I think back to a year ago, and the fiance had barely entered the margins of my life (and a week ago I didn’t even know he existed).  I was trying to come to terms with being an old maid.  Six months ago I was in love but insecure.  I thought we had a future–did we have a future?  I wanted us to have a future.  But romantic comedies say you shouldn’t push things.  Oh, the drama.

The early days stuff seems far away now, I think because we’re in the midst of something real, not imagined conflicts.  You wouldn’t think being British and American would be a big deal.  We have a ‘common cultural history and a common language’ according to the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (true story–I was reading about dialects for my linguistics classes).  He just happens to have the sexy accent, and I have the–well, I’m not quite sure what he thinks about my New Yawk accent.  But boiled down, the equation is simple.  We certainly thought marriage would be simple.  Yes, there would be some paperwork, but we were prepared, and we were going to do everything by the book.

But the book is very, very long and complicated, and our simple little dream of getting married and living together is not so easily accomplished.

So over the past couple of months we have grappled with some serious questions, like: do we want to sacrifice our church wedding to get married at City Hall so we can process for American immigration faster?  Are we both willing to give up the pageantry and romance of a big wedding, and am I willing to sacrifice getting married in a church, before God?  (No, for the record.)  What if we live in England instead?  Am I alright with giving up my job for a marriage? (Yes.)  Do I need to work when I’m there (sadly yes).  What about kids?  Is England a better place to have babies, or is America?  England has nationalized health care and paid maternity leave.  America has…um…Disney World?  My father is getting sick.  His parents could help watch children.  And speaking of that, when should we start trying for kids anyway?  Do we want to be married awhile?  But I’m no spring chicken, so do we worry about fertility.

A year ago I was fighting with my sister/ then roommate and despairing of my singledom.  It wasn’t always pleasant, but it was simple.

Fun. has that song “We Are Young.”  The 16 year old me would have loved that song and adopted it as her anthem.  I used to be enamored of my own youth and embraced songs like “Jack and Diane” (“Hold on to sixteen as long as you can/ Changes come around real soon make us women and men”) and “Forever Young” by Alphaville, which is mostly unintelligible except for the chorus, which goes “Forever young/ I want to be forever young.”  Not to mention the Rod Stewart song of the same name.  These songs tell you I like some really cheesy music, but, despite the fact that I was never a partier or one to make mistakes young by living large, I still loved the immortality and endless possibility of youth.  I have “We Are Young” on my iPod and listen to it, imagining it playing at my wedding and fist pumping along.

The thing is, I don’t think it applies to me anymore.  I’m not young.  The questions that are facing me–moving across an ocean, when to start a family, what nation is the best place to raise kids–these are not the questions of a young person.  And I say facing “me,” but that’s wrong.  These questions are facing “us.”  I’m starting a family.  I have to make joint decisions and soon I won’t have the freedom to watch six episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” and skip dinner in favor of chocolate.  Does that mean I am betraying my youth  or just molting because I’ve outgrown it?

I’m a grown up now, and I don’t think there’s any turning back.  But then I think back to a year ago, that time when I didn’t know if I would get married.  I don’t think I’ll miss my youth that much.

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