Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pondering My Quarter of a Life on Saturday Night

Science has proven that a person's brain has completed its growing and pruning by age 25. This means that the person can now reliably think in adult terms, accurately weighing or linking risks, rewards, actions and consequences. What it comes down to is: a 25 year old is physiologically capable of making better decisions. This is the reasoning behind the oft-cited "25 year" rule of renting cars - after you turn 25, the rate per day charged when you rent a car drops dramatically, because after 25, you're much less likely to rent cars and trash them for funsies or something? 1. Johnny Knoxville would beg to differ, and 2. Any 24 year old that rents cars just to trash them for funsies has a lot more to worry about than their brain's pruning status.

I turned 25 yesterday. Since I read a bunch of studies about what makes a 25 year old's brain different (better) than a 24 year old's, I've spent the last 6 months or so looking forward to my shiny new Grown Up Brain. I couldn't wait to finally take interest in calcium intake, interior decorating, and What's Wrong With Kids Today, if only because I thought it would allow for significantly less boredom at family get-togethers (I'm the oldest unmarried cousin in my family, so I don't usually have a lot of company at the kids' table). I kind of expected to wake up today with a whole new perspective on all the adventure, ambition, and general folly of my first 25 years, a perspective (like my parents') that instead labeled all that time with words like ludicrous, reckless, needlessly rebellious.

I didn't! I rolled out of bed this morning with the same stupid hangover I've had just about every weekend since I turned 23 (I drank before then, of course, but with COMPLETE IMPUNITY - this is the detail which prompts me to join those shaky, wrinkled ranks, wailing, YOUTH IS WASTED ON THE YOUNG!), and felt the same about my past as I always have: not all that bothered about it, even kind of confused. I mean, unless something has gone horribly wrong, is a person supposed to spend a lot of time thinking about the past? The past is gone. All that exists is what you do in the current moment, right? Only the future can be considered, and even then only through the thick, distorting lens of chance. Of course, a 25 year old would think that; an 85 year old might be more prone to think the opposite - I imagine for the elderly it's so uncertain that the future will even come to pass that the past has a far more compelling draw. I don't know. Life at 85 is purely theoretical for me.

I once had a friend who wholeheartedly believed that Christ was going to return before she graduated from college, so she didn't really worry about the marketability of her degree. I sort of feel the same way about getting old. Oh well, I'm pretty sure I'll just kill myself at age 50 when anti-wrinkle creams are more a Resolute Gesture than Preemptive Strike, so why worry about 80? Which means that whatever I'm dealing with now is not a Quarter Life Crisis but a Half Life Crisis. What am I going to do with the next half? If the future is all that bears consideration, consider the future. Fine:

In the next half of my life, I plan to accomplish the following.
- Take more time for quiet reflection, writing (deciding if I even CAN write), reading for pleasure
- Finish school
- Get a job
- Finally resolve my internal tussle with the notion that I am very happily monogamous but marrying a man seems like the equivalent of entering a legally binding contract with a puppy on crack
- Decide whether my uterus is a political battlefield only or a political battlefield AND a place to grow someone who will definitely get fucked over by politics
- Learn to live with my mother's constant, unending disapproval of literally every thing in the world
- Learn to live with my dad's constant, unending assertion that he knows everything about literally every thing
- Learn to live with the fact that I AM THEM AUGHHHHHHH

Tall orders all, but when it comes to planning an adventure I do like to be ambitious.

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