Nov. 18th, 2002

and still

Nov. 18th, 2002 12:30 am
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I used to think, when I was eleven or so, that there would come a point where one says, "I am now an adult. Pay attention to me, world. I am an Adult and what I say Counts."

Then I got to eighteen, and I was at university, and somehow it seemed that everyone around me was now an Adult, but I was just still me. Still the same person looking out through these eyes, though now I had contact lenses as well as glasses, and now I was drinking coffee (with sugar) because the heat and sweetness and caffeine were good things to have during long boring lectures in cold rooms. And now I belonged to societies -- the Science Fiction Society, or the Light Opera Society -- who didn't think it was that impossibly strange to like some of the things that I liked. And now I made my way round London and watched Hong Kong films with friends and read whatever I wanted and never worried about anyone finding the books lying round my room. And still I was the same person looking out at the world from inside my head.

And then I was twenty-three or so, and I'd finished my MSc, and I'd got a job at the hospital while I looked for a statistics-related job (though they all wanted several years experience) and I logged on regularly in the evening and had started to write poetry and fiction for Zelazny's Amber, and role-played online. And still I wondered, when will I hit this shining Adulthood that everyone around me seems to fit into so effortlessly? I was still the person I had always been, in jeans or in neat work trousers, long hair up in a bun to look professional, never quite . . . or rather, still always me.

(But now that I'm seven I'm clever as clever . . .)

Thirty now. But of my three score years and ten, thirty will not come again . . . And maybe I am more of an adult than I used to be, in that I can recognise that some of my patterns of thought have changed, and some of my perceptions have improved at least a little.

It makes me wonder, looking out at the world around me, if everyone else has that same anxiety somewhere at the back of their heads, the feeling that everyone else seems to confidently know they're Adults, but that one one's self is still a child, and that some day it'll all come out and everyone will point the finger and laugh mockingly.

This is probably a ridiculously common fear.

("You're not a real writer! You're not a real adult! You're not a real person!")


"His writing, as he might have said himself, is like lace; the material is of very little consequence, the embroidery is all that counts; and it shares with lace the happy faculty of coming out sometimes in yards and yards."
-- Lytton Strachey on Horace Walpole


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