My mother and I officially switched roles the other night and I became the adult while she solidified her position as the child. The details aren’t particularly important right now. More interesting to me is the emotional process I went through over the course of the evening: Frustration to anger. Anger to more anger. Then back to frustration. Frustration to calm acceptance. And after all this, I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and full of compassion; for her and for myself. Appropriate for Easter Sunday, with its resurrection motif. And this idea of resurrection and rebirth resonated with me. It felt like a new beginning. It felt like I had grown up in a small, but important way. I relished this, since I still struggle with the reality of being almost 38 and living with my parents.
This feeling of failing as an adult was recently brought under a microscope when my 20 year old nephew announced his engagement. There is some part of me that always assumed I would have this whole relationship thing figured out before any of my siblings’ offspring got married. Alas, it is not to be. I also thought that I would have a few months (or more) to wrap my brain around the idea of my nephew getting married. Alas again. The wedding is in five days. All in all, a harsh reminder of where I am not. But it’s also a reminder that comparison is foolish, and what’s good and right for one person is completely wrong for another.
Threaded through all of this is the realization that, despite having lived in Columbus for longer than I lived in Portland, I don’t have a solid core group of friends. I have tons of awesome work friends, but none that have ventured into the non-work realm. All in all I’m okay with this (as I am not a huge fan of socializing). But all of a sudden I feel very isolated.
The truth is though, I don’t think this feeling of isolation has to do specifically with my friends or my nephew getting married or the role reversal with my mother. They play a part of course, but the real cause of my isolation is the tangible shift away from who I’ve always been towards the unknown of who I am becoming. For the first time in many many years I don’t have anything even remotely resembling a plan. I have no idea what I want to do or who I want to be. And while it might be a cliche, I really do feel like I’m alone in a boat in the middle of the ocean. But my horoscope today says the boat I’m in is seaworthy, so I’m not too worried.
(My horoscope also says there’s room for others in my boat.)