Woman writing in a notebook. Photo by  Lina Khalid  on  Scopio

I used to write all day long. I’d be in class writing notes and long rambling doodles that started out as lyrics from the Rolling Stones and then ended with lines I imagined Pangloss would say. All was for the best in the best of all possible worlds. I churned this stuff out like one of those old adding machines. I used a typewriter at home and tore the fringe ends off and made little accordions with them that I’d spring around the room. I spent half a day on my chair in my room sewing some polyester into a dress, never using a tape measure but just trying it on over and over and then finishing it while I was wearing it and everything ended up crooked. My friend and I used to find clothes on the floor of our other friend’s house and dare each other to wear the weirdest thing and then go to Flameburger cause they were open late.

It’s funny because I have as many hours in the day as I used to, and the things you need to do to keep your life afloat as an adult really don’t take all that long. I used to play at being an adult by doing things like logging all of the possible license plate combinations in a 3-rind binder because I couldn’t figure out the math for how many combinations there were and it looked like working. Now I spend twice as much time absently scrolling on profiles or putting things into various online carts that I never buy, just getting more spam email telling me I forgot something. That’s the minutes that really take up your life. One time a coworker made a joke that a mouse only had so many clicks in it until it went bad and we talked about how someone could measure their productivity in clicks, which is weird cause some people actually do.

I think it’s wasted emotion to feel sorry that the past isn’t happening anymore, to look back towards the things you used to do with rose-colored glasses, because if I look hard I remember that when I was younger I was always waiting for something to end or something else to start. Nothing that was ever in someone is gone, they just have to work towards reviving what was good without bringing back what wasn’t. Spending hours being creative as a teenager was fine and good but I was dying to be older the whole time, wishing I could live on my own and have the life I have now. I would do a disservice to my younger self by feeling that this isn’t what I wanted. You learn when you grow.

I always wanted to have a house with plants and weird furniture, and I have a child’s desk as a TV stand so young me would approve. I have Christmas lights in my living room even though magazines tell me that’s dorm-room chic and I’m too old for it, I think the degrees on the wall make up for it. I always have an orchid because my fiance knows I love them, they’re the brightest blue and the same shade that my friend noticed I have a car and a matching coat. I have two rabbits, one of which is a ridiculous breed who looks like he always got out of bed and another that looks like a little cow. I speak French and I got to go to France twice this year. I send my future father-in-law messages in Portuguese of pictures of fall leaves since he’s never seen them. I have two cases of vinyl records and I’m convinced there’s never going to be better music made than what is in them.

I have a job now that I get to spend an afternoon writing sometimes. I used to have a job where I’d have to sneak it, like that Brazilian poet whose name I forget who was a civil servant and spent all day writing dirty poems. I worried if I didn’t have to sneak my writing it’d be bad, but adverse experiences don’t create your creativity, it’s just there. You don’t have to be miserable to write or paint or dance or whatever, in fact you can do more of those things when you feel good. I love working with people and helping them get out of dark places because I think someday of all the things that people can create and do because they were able to survive being inside their own heads. Think of the musicians who died at 27 and all the music they never made. Living is good, feeling happy and interested and rested and comfortable is good and you can still make things no matter what your life is like.

Leave a Reply