So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

the perks of being a 30-something

tonight i watched "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" for the first time off the big screen.  

i'm a huge fan of this film, just as i have long been a huge fan, and a frequent re-reader, of the novel.  the filmmakers have done an amazing job of whittling the story down to the joy and the pain -- not that there's much else in the novel.  the film brilliantly captures the spirit of the story that i've read repeatedly.  

every time i experience this story, i re-live my troubled high school days.  the characters and their angst are so familiar that i can't help but reconsider my experiences as a teenager.  i don't discuss my experiences with friends, nor do i care to do.  i rarely think about that period in my life, except when i read or watch an account of someone else's comparable experience.   

high school is so far behind me; i recently turned 31.  maybe it's silly for a high school story to still resonate with the adult me, but it does.  i can't help but wonder, as i consider my outlook during past stages of my life, about my outlook toward the future.

it's easy to look back at high school and college and recognize the importance that we placed on what now seem like insignificant accomplishments and standards.  in retrospect, my SAT score and my GPA, while impressive and personally gratifying at the time, have neither come up, nor been effectual in the past decade of my life.  as my romantic life has peaked and collapsed; as i have reimagined and realigned my career path, those priorities of my teens and even my college years have failed to prove important in the long term.  at 18, i never would have guessed that i would be, at 31, where i am.  i never would have imagined my priorities as a 30-somethimg to be what they are.  but could i have imagined a 30-something's priorities at all?  how could i have guessed?

tonight, as i finish a glass of sauvignon blanc and finish "The Perks" before heading to bed, i can't help but wonder if my current priorities and goals might be red herrings on my path to a happy adulthood.  can i possibly guess my priorities and regrets as a true adult?  (by the way, i firmly believe that 30 is the new 20.  and "adult" remains aloof.)  will i look back, as a 51 year-old, and smirk at the priorities of my 31 year-old self?  will the obsessions of thirty-something-hood -- be they losing 20 lbs,  making the best impression at work, winning an argument with a roommate, limiting my vodka consumption to three nights a week, or finding the absolutely perfect engagement ring -- in retrospect seem trivial?  

priorities change.  life is constant evolution.

this, i think, is why we should re-read books.  as our perspective changes, so do the stories.  

also, don't judge me for watching the movie on this one.  i have re-read it.  and you can't really read while drinking a bottle of wine.

* * * 

Even if you didn't know what I was talking about or know someone who's gone through it, you made me not feel alone. Because I know there are people who say all these things don't happen. And there are people who forget what it's like to be 16 when they turn 17. I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. We'll all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening.

* * * 

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