This summer is my 20 year reunion. It is my 20 year reunion, and I still dream about high school stress with regularity. In most of these dreams, I cannot find my locker, or I find it and then I cannot remember the combination. I spend the five minutes between class running endless halls (my high school was huge) only to finally find my locker and stand there with no idea of how to get in. Often in these dreams I show up to class and there is a test I did not study for, because I never realized I was in the class. I must take the test anyway, because to walk out would be to fail immediately… so I sit down to fail eventually.
It’s a stunning metaphor for my feelings on adulthood. I feel like I forgot to show up for classes on how to be a “successful adult”– totally spaced every single class. How To Be Thin. How To Have Moneez. How to Keep A Spotless House. How to Have a Yard That Doesn’t Make Your Neighbors Sigh and Close Their Shades. How To Know Whether You Should Have a Full-Time Job or Not Have a Full-Time Job So You Can Raise Your Preshus Babies.
To make matters worse, I feel as though everyone else totally showed up for these classes except ME. They are sitting there with their smug faces and their blue books and their sharpened pencils, ready to kick ass on this test.
But here I am, clueless– being forced to take the test anyway. Failure eminent.
[There was a lot of self-pity and wallowing in this space. Many paragraphs. I took it out because even I thought I was being pathetic.]
Anyone else ever feel that way? And I ask not because I want you to say nice things about me, because my logical brain knows that I’m doing fine and my kids are fine and my house is fine and my yard well it’s awful but what the hell I never claimed to have any interest or skill in gardening. I really want to know. Is this the mantle of adulthood?