It’s true—I am (as of 5pm Friday) gainfully unemployed, a home economist, a poor sap in need of health coverage, a….stay-at-home-father. Apparently, this is common enough that the initials SAHD are acceptable shorthand—who knew?
And today’s the first day of the new job—well, half-day, since we’re easing into the whole transition. No jumping straight into the deep end for us—no, thanks! We prefer to dip our toes carefully. Half-day today, rest of week off, half-days next week. Come early December, though—watch out!
How’s it going, you ask? Well, it’s 9am, the wee bairn 'n' I've been on our own for 1 ½ hours, the baby has made sobbing noises I’ve never heard in nature before, I’ve soothed her to sleep three separate times, and she’s already used up the emergency bottle. The good news is that right now she’s sound asleep, wrapped in a blanket and looking beatific. Did I mention that the vacuum is running? Good times!
Anyway, all this change in my life over the past three months has got me thinking a lot about—well, change. And the changes in our lives. And while I’ve been thinking about change, I’ve also had occasion to think about Gilby’s post a while back on “feeling old.” And then Gilby comes along and comments on this here little erratic and increasingly infrequent blog! It’s like a sign! A sign from above, or at least from LGR!
So here’s what I’ve been thinking: first, I was thinking, “my god, I am old—Gilby was 12 or 13 when Cobain died, and I was…umm…shit, a little more than twice that. Holy cow, Cobain's been dead that long? Hey, what the hell is she doing thinking that she’s old—what the hell does that make me? Methusalah?” Well, probably. But then, after a few moments of thinking about those days of reacting to Cobain’s death, as well as what exactly I remember from the time I was 12 or 13 (Iran hostage crisis, Ted Koppel’s hair’s debut, the Pittsburgh Pirates and “We Are Family,” “Rapper’s Delight” (no, not really, at least not in 1979, when it came out—I was more likely to be scouring my little AM transistor to hear that big hit of 1976, Hall & Oates’s “Rich Girl”), incredible insecurity, etc.), I realized that feeling old is all about being able to look back at different versions of yourself. You know, there’s that 12 or 13-year-old with homely-ass glasses and braces and gawky limbs and a tendency to hide away with books, there’s the 28-year-old grad student with shoulder-length hair (a bad idea, but I had to try it) and a tendency to hide a way with books, and most recently there’s the 40-year-old new father who likes to race bikes and doesn’t have any time to read, dammit. And a thousand selves between, all connected by this damn frontal lobe and the memory that strings us along—I mean, together—strings us together. And we look back, and we say, man was I different then, cuz I thought a pair of Levi's (instead of those off-brand Sears jeans) would make those other kids like me more--I was so young then. And not to get all corny on you, but then we occasionally get to start something new, like picking up bike racing on the cusp of your 40th birthday, or leaving a job you weren't cut out for from the beginning, or sitting at a desk typing while the vacuum (still) runs to create white noise to keep your 12-week-old daughter asleep for just that little bit longer, and it's a little bit like feeling young again. Except for the vacuum part--that just feels desperate.