Today is the Tomorrow that You Worried About Yesterday
by Asia Kindred Moore
Pressed for time. No matter what I’m doing I feel the constant pull of it, both terrifying and liberating, all at once. These days, I feel like I’m growing up.
I always thought that it would be so sure and sudden and absolute, as though adulthood would be delivered like a present with a bow to the doorstep of my consciousness. Nope. Not at all, quite the opposite actually. My emerging adulthood, if you will, feels like the collapse of many things in my life, while new priorities and choices and self-determination take the place of the familiar child-like ideas, beliefs, and concepts. This shift terrifies me—the honest truth is that I fear the unknown.
I can’t hide this change. I yearn to scream it out loud, but fear losing my friends in the out-rush of that expression. And it’s not just me, I think others yearn for this change but are also afraid to really take it on, as if accepting the responsibility of adulthood makes them less BadAss. It’s so dumb. Only strong people can admit that what they’re doing contributes nothing, or makes no sense—or that the sense it makes is only to a select group of people who don’t recognize the irrelevance of it anyway. Mostly, for my nonchalant group of friends, keeping the party going is what counts, and the one with the most empty cans wins. Where’s the contribution or sense in that? When the only measure of responsibility is who picks up the cans after everybody else leaves.
Losing time to irrelevance and giving it away to worthless acts makes it difficult to stay focused on the priorities at hand—things like getting a drivers license, registering to vote, and other status quos of “normal” adult functions. But slowly I am doing these things. One day last week I passed my written test to obtain my drivers license (got 84 percent) and then went on to register to vote. That says a lot about the way my mind works these days—when I finally get it together to do something, I go out and try to get it all done right now. Give me one victory and I keep going to get another, as though I need to impress myself, to prove that I don’t procrastinate all the time.
Procrastination is a good buddy of mine, we kill a lot of time together, but I’m the one who pays for that relationship. Even now I am paying as I write this article. Here I am, glued to this computer screen by the forces of truth and reason, also known as my father. He calls me out on my lack of initiative and feeds me doses of questions, ideas, and challenges. He calls it “countering the entropy”. Entropy is another word for chaos, and chaos is my comfort zone. Chaotic energy keeps me interested, but getting organized helps me decide on my course of action. I don’t think that I can do this without both.
I really am scared though, it’s only just hitting me how huge and foreign the world really is. Did I expect otherwise? It worries me that maybe the only thing I know is how to fake it, like so many other people, bullshitting my way into social status, trying to make people think I’m keen and experienced. I laugh to think of myself that way. But there’s also truth in it somehow, and that’s not satisfying.
In this society there are two parties creating chaos for each other. You got the young ‘to-be’s’ like me, spreading their wings, advancing in social interaction and responsibility. You also have the older ‘been-there-done-that’ generation that looks at the younger ‘to-be’s’, seeing them for exactly what they are; no experience, no skills, yet trying to be something in the world. Neither the old nor the young makes it easy for the other. We don’t live in a tribe where everybody’s part of something greater, we are individuals in a winner-take-all world. The old are afraid that the young will overpower their tidy world, and the young are afraid that the rules and roles we all grew up with will never change. We’ll never find balance until there’s a mutual understanding to cooperate instead of compete with each other.
Growing up. Honestly, the next year has so many roads for me to choose from, and someday it really will all make sense to me. It’s backwards, but I think that’s what growing up is—understanding what we do after we do it and learning from what it was that we did, instead of knowing in advance. I think it means either shaping up or being ground down. I’ve already made my decision.
Asia Kindred Moore lives in Salem, Oregon, where she works as a barista at the Coffee House Cafe downtown. Asia can be reached at [email protected].