I am bouncing off things lately. Skimming along and then bouncing off, and I hope it rights itself soon, because it's pretty annoying. I pulled up a short story to try to trick my brain into doing something focused for awhile. I hope it works. I've also been cropping the remainder of my Christmas and New Year's pictures. Better late than never, and all that...not a project requiring great focus. So those should be up at novel_gazing in not too long.
Lo these two moons ago someone asked me my impressions of adulthood. Right this moment my impression is that it is vastly overrated, but that is a temporary impression and will soon pass. I hope.
This person also asked when I first began to feel like an adult. I think it was when I was 10 and I wanted to go home from church camp. The camp counselor started crying about how she was a miserable failure as a counselor, and I sat down with her and rubbed her back and told her that it wasn't her fault, she'd done the best she could and I was just fine, I just wasn't a camp person, and it was best for people to know their own temperaments. And she stopped crying and blinked at me and said, "Are you ten or forty?" And at that point I started thinking more about controlling the havoc I wreaked, paying attention to my effects on other people. Some of that is taking care of people, but some of it was also having calculated effects on people, which can be exactly the opposite. But it's along the lines of a gentleman never offending on purpose, I think. Not the only component of maturity, but one of them.
But that was just the start of feeling like an adult. Feeling like an adult really stuck when I was 21 and we were living in that little hell-hole apartment in Concord, and ants got into the kitchen utensils drawer. There were swarms and swarms of them, and they were disgusting, and the ant spray we had then made me feel sick, and I was just furious. I felt invaded and dirty. And so I was standing there crying furiously, but I was washing out the utensil drawer and all the utensils anyway, and it didn't occur to me to ask someone else to do it. And I thought, well, shit, I'm an adult now. The ant corpses stop here. When something is disgusting and horrible, not only do I have to deal with it, I have to deal with it without someone telling me to. Because at my parents' house, if there was mold in my shower, if there were spiders in the downstairs family room, my mom was perfectly capable of telling me, "Well, deal with it!" if I went howling upstairs going, "MO-OMMMMMM!" But there was someone to go howling upstairs to, and ultimately it was her house and her mold or her spiders or whatever. And with the ants, they were mine. Being an adult didn't mean I couldn't be upset at the invasion of my living space. It just meant that I couldn't let being upset interfere with dealing with the problem.
I think one of the hard bits for me was that a lot of things that are generally thought of as adult things were with me early, and I knew I wasn't an adult just because of them. Making serious life choices consciously and following through on them -- I did that very early. I was saying earlier this week that having total control of who saw my fiction never left the top three motivating factors in my life until after I turned 20. From the time I was 5 or 6 at least, it was always up there. Now I know that the goal is to have things published, and you can never totally control access to a published work. But when I was younger that was terrifying. I learned runic alphabets specifically for the purposes of being able to write fiction in class without the risk of anyone reading it over my shoulder or grabbing my notebooks away from me. I got to be as fast in three or four runic alphabets as I was printing. (I almost never write fiction in cursive. Never have. Don't know why.) But anyway, point being, I was very serious about this stuff very early, and maybe being serious about your work is one of the things that ought to make you count as more of an adult, but often it didn't, at least not externally. I knew the physical stuff wasn't all there was, because I was a very early bloomer physically, but clearly it meant something or serious work would have meant more. So that was confusing.
I probably have something more interesting to say about grown-up stuff, but not tonight.