I feel it.
My cigarette hangs between two unpolished fingernails out the open window of a mini-van. My shorter hair gets happily abused by the highway winds. I abandoned the long, carbon copy hair cut of girls that shop the juniors department for a shoulder length, very fashion forward but non- obnoxious haircut that makes one look European. No more following pop star trends. No more following anything. All exploring.
I feel it.
New, matching, IKEA furniture fills the van, purchased with the extra money I'm making at my new job. My first non-entry-level job. My first job that required a degree and experience and offers benefits including that strange phrase that my parents often discussed - "401k".
I hear it, too.
No more fucking rap that's only good for mating to. I'm tapping my steering wheel to acid jazz then some odd avant gard stuff that's quite chill.
I smell it, too.
In my basket of un-dyed lemons, unbleached wheat flour, and soybeans at the farmer's market, I smell it. I eat vegetables by choice. I don't live off TV dinners anymore. My boyfriend throws in a bag of Zapatista brand coffee beans. We'd do just about anything to support Che Guevera's causes. I vote. We'll probably grind these beans and drink its black coffee as we read the morning's editorials and listen to CNN.
I taste it there, too.
I see it in the new way I look at children. The way nature has made my hips a more perfectly shaped seat for a child. The way I can now lovingly endure their cries and late nights. The way I find myself gently chastising them and shaping their behavior, eerily similar to how my own mother did.
But I think the first time I really saw it was when I stood between the junior's department and the misses department at Kohl's. I looked to my left at the juniors. The clothes looked showy, gaudy, costume-y.. .. .. like play clothes. I didn't see anything I could wear to any occasions in my daily life. I looked to my right at the misses. I could wear these to work, to the dive bar where my friends and I sit and have drinks, or to dinner with my boyfriend's family. I no longer subscribed to the theory that the more sexually suggestive my clothing was, the more likely I'd receive positive male attention, and the misses jeans didn't show my butt crack, and so.. .. .. I drifted.
And I realized growing up isn't bad. You don't necessarily turn into that scary old teacher with bad fashion sense. You just find your own niche. Nor do you necessarily merge from the on-ramp of the rebellious teens to the superhighway of the other conforming, indistinguishable members of society. But sometimes you see and decide for yourself that adults had the right idea - vegetables really do taste good and drinking too much does sometimes have disastrous consequences.
I feel it. Maybe it's a new step in Maslow's hierarchy of needs I'm entering or a new crisis of Erikson's that I face. Or maybe it's just growing up.
But I feel it.